For many students, school is a place fondly remembered for sparking their passion or connecting to them to a favorite mentor – but for others, school is a place in which discrimination made it harder to pursue their dreams.
Classroom discrimination can take many forms and have serious impacts on learning, according to reporting in The Atlantic. For example:
• A math or science teacher may invest less time in a female student based on the assumption that women cannot excel in those disciplines.
• Administrators frequently and harshly discipline Black students, leading them on average to miss more days of school due to suspension than their white peers.
• Immigrant students who face discrimination from teachers experience an extreme stress response that can reduce their motivation and performance and make them likelier to drop out of school entirely.
What happens in the classroom ultimately doesn’t stay in the classroom. Impeding students’ learning based on their identities inevitably worsens existing disparities in other aspects of life.
The girl who’s discouraged in math class may never become a leading engineer and create more opportunities for women to enter that field. A Black student facing unfairly harsher discipline at school may be likelier to face unequal carceral punishment as an adult. And an immigrant student mocked for their English skills may be less likely to seek help if they survive assault given a troubling lack of supported services tailored for non-English languages.
At RALIANCE, we recognize that young people – particularly those who are survivors or who have faced trauma – are likelier to lead more fulfilling lives if they feel recognized and cared for. That’s why, in partnership with the National Football League, we’ve been proud to support organizations that support traditionally marginalized youths, including the NYC Alliance and the Arab-American Family Support Center.
All students deserve to feel safe, heard, and supported in the classroom. Only then can they begin to be educated and inspired.
RALIANCE provides consulting, assessment, and employee development services to help build more equitable workplace cultures and create environments free from sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse. We stand ready to support your organization’s goals – contact us today at [email protected] to get started.