A Washington school district is investigating today after a white teacher called the police on a fifth-grade black student. The teacher whose name has yet to be released claimed he threatened to beat her up and she felt unsafe around the 4-foot-11 child.
The incident sparked outrage in the community based on concerns of bias in disciplinary action by schools.
Manuela Slye, newly elected president of the Seattle Council Parent Teacher Student Association, argued that the teacher’s impulse to involve police in a disciplinary issue, and against a child so young, sets a dangerous precedent.
The incident unfolded at Van Asselt Elementary School in May when the teacher said the fifth-grade student became disruptive and threatened her during class. The police did show up at the school and the unnamed teacher decided not to press charges after the administration suggested other was to handle the situation. A teacher from the same school stated having the police show up may cast a dark cloud over the school that is 38% black.
There is a growing body of research that shows African American students are punished more often, and more harshly than there white peers for the same behavioral infractions.
Previous studies have shown that not only are Black students are nearly four times as likely than white students to be suspended from school, but they’re also three times as likely to be referred to police for an incident that occurred on campus.
Also, research at the brooking institute found that black students in the south bore the brunt of physical in school discipline and were twice as likely to receive corporal punishment than there white peers.