She was upset about her preschooler being suspended. When she spoke to the other moms, it got weird.
When I first heard this story from "This American Life," I was in shock. Hearing this mother's story not only upset me ... it made me worried for my own future children.
This episode was filled with moments that left me shaking my head, but here are a few that really stuck out:
"The lab coats peered down at a million students' lives — the schools they attended, how they did, when they got in trouble. And they determined that African-American and Hispanic students were twice as likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than their white peers for their first offense." (11:20)
"One more striking thing you can see in the Texas numbers — kids who were suspended were much more likely to be arrested outside of school, three times as likely to come into contact with the juvenile justice system." (12:21)
"In March this year, the Department of Education issued a report that said black children make up 18% of preschoolers, but they make up 48% of preschool children suspended more than once." (15:30)
"And here's the theory he laid out for me: You suspend a kid, he misses school, he finds it hard to catch up, he feels frustrated, falls behind. And maybe just as important, he learns he is bad. Because he feels bad when he's in school, he acts bad." (14:25)
This story and the findings shared in it paint a scary picture of how racial bias affects students of color. Here's hoping that sharing these insights will encourage educators to think carefully about how we discipline students and how it can affect their futures.