In a recent article, an author attempts to point out that the travesties associate with the Freddie Gray incident is not a product of Black culture but a product of policy and politics which often lead to racism in education. Policy and politics do not dominate how a culture implements policies and politics. The Freddie Gray incident has a direct correlation to racism in education for which could be prevented for many Blacks and persons of a historically underserved background.

According to the article, … Baltimore has a black mayor, a black police commissioner and a majority-black City Council. Yet the city still has one of the most stained records of police brutality in recent years.

In the absence of a perceptible “white power structure,” the discussion around Baltimore has quickly turned to one about the failings of black culture. This confuses even those who sympathize with black hardship. When people took to the streets and destroyed property, most observers did not see an understandable social response to apparent state inaction. They saw, in the words of Baltimore’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, “thugs,” or in the words of President Obama, “criminals and thugs.”

How does racism in education create alleged thugs and criminals?

We only need to look at the education to prison pipeline for the answer of the racism in education.

Education to Prison Pipeline

The term “school-to-prison pipeline” is a phrase that is used by scholars and education reform activists and organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Justice Policy Center, Advancement Project, and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) to describe what they view as a widespread pattern in the United States of pushing students, especially those who are already at a disadvantage, out of school and into the American criminal justice system. They argue that this “pipeline” is the result of public institutions being neglectful or derelict in properly addressing students as individuals who might need extra educational or social assistance, or being unable to do so because of staffing shortages or statutory mandates. The resulting miseducation and mass incarceration are said to create a vicious circle for individuals and communities.

Advocates claim that the school-to-prison pipeline operates at all levels of US government (federal, state, county, city and school district) both directly as a result of zero tolerance policies, and indirectly due to exclusion from the school system. 

How could Blacks such as Freddie Gray become victimized by the education to prison pipeline?

The process begins with zero-tolerance disciplinary policies for Blacks like Freddie Gray. Zero-tolerance disciplinary policies are often the first step in a child’s journey through the pipeline. These policies impose severe discipline on students.

In 2011, a study by the National Education Policy Center found that zero-tolerance policies across the nation were increasing suspension rates, with students being accused of offenses such as attendance violations, dress code violations, cell phone use, and other minor offenses. They found that zero-tolerance policies put children, particularly Black and Latino children, on a path of truancy and likely incarceration. Black students are 3.5 times more likely to be suspended than White students and are held responsible for 70% of arrests while attending school. Simultaneously Latino students are 1.5 times more likely to be suspended than their White classmates.

The education to prison pipeline allows teachers to continue to discriminate against Black students and former Black students such as Freddie Gray.

Teacher Discrimination

Racism in education can begin with White teachers who may have difficulty in understanding minorities due to the teachers’ rejection of the students’ lifestyles. Schools have a bias against students who do not share the same characteristics as White, female, middle-class teachers.

Teachers are more likely to have negative academic and behavioral expectations regarding Black students compared to expectations of White students. White teachers have more negative attitudes toward Black children and rate Black students more negatively compared to White students. White teachers rate Black male children more deviant compared to White children. White teachers direct more criticism toward Black males and rate Black male children personalities more negatively compared to White male children.

European American teachers favor other students rather than Black students. European Americans have favorable attitudes toward Mexican Americans compared to Blacks and are more likely to accept Mexican Americans compared to Blacks due to Mexican Americans having a closer skin color to European Americans.

The only way to eliminate classroom racism (Elcloomism) is to promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships). Freddie Gray is an example of how racism in education can impact a person’s life.

Related Articles

The Timeline of Freddie Gray’s Arrest and the Charges Filed

Freddie Gray never had a chance

Police Wanted Us To Believe Freddie Gray Killed Himself. We’ve Heard Stories Like This Before.


Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012


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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships




“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.

~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”

~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President

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