By: Serena Crawford
A new study has revealed data that shows that more black boys are put into special education classes when they do not have a disability than those who actually do. There are boys who do have a disability and are not diagnosed, those who do not have a disability at all and are diagnosed with one, those who do not have one and are not diagnosed with one, and those who have a disability and are diagnosed properly. Many of the boys that do not need to be in special education classes are put there anyway for the following reasons:
1. Misdiagnosis: Children who are diagnosed as having a disability but do not are numerous. They are bored by the environment that they are in because they are not being challenged enough and so they appear to have a learning disability because of the boredom. There are others who fall victim to stereotypes and when teachers see the slightest bit of slack in work they feel that the boys have some sort of learning disability.
2. Overly harsh punishment: It is no secret that black boys are punished more often that white boys and they are often given harsher punishments. The excessive suspensions set them back because they are absent from school for so long.
3. Behavior: Often times a black child misbehaving can be mistaken for a learning disability or a mental disability such as ADHD. They often are not given a diagnosis or not given a correct one because their regular behavior doesn’t fit in with the environment that they are in.
4. Racial bias: Over 80% of teachers in America are white women who come from white neighborhoods. There are many out there that subject their students to racial biases and put black boys in special education classes because they feel that they are a threat or that they cannot teach them because of stereotypes that they have heard. This is a great disservice to the young black men who want to learn and excel in their schooling.
5. Separation: Black males do not thrive when they are separated in school situations. Unfortunately most schools that diagnose a child as having a disability (incorrectly or not) feel that this is something that they cannot overcome and place them in special education throughout their school career. They never get to be with “normal” students and their education suffers because of it.
6. Honors: The good news is that there are also many black males with disabilities who are in honors classes. Many enter honors classes because their parents or someone who is an important influence in their life fought for them to get the best education that they can. These boys do well in school even if they have a disability.