The Colin Kaepernick protest has had a worldwide impact on politics, our community, and schools which includes the Charlotte County School District. The district recently forced one of its teachers to remove a Kaepernick display that was designed to celebrate and embrace Black history month. This decision by the school district will have a devasting impact on the children of color whom they serve as well as the teaching staff without appropriate interventions.
According to WINK-TV, Alissa Perry, a math teacher at Port Charlotte High School, made the poster of 31-year-old Kaepernick — who famously protested police brutality and social injustice by taking a knee during the national anthem as a member of the San Francisco 49ers — to celebrate Black History Month.
School officials approved the poster until they received complaints from the community. According to the school district, Perry’s poster caused a “disruption” on campus, and the sheer number of calls and emails they received in criticism of it led them to finally ask for its removal. After removal of the poster school officials reported that they continue to receive “negative” calls and emails.
School officials have the authority over many of the behavior of students and teachers. In this case they exercised their authority to ensure a supposedly safe environment for students and faculty by forcing the teacher to remove the Colin Kaepernick poster. They will now face consequences for which they have not calculated.
First, Black History Month is an opportunity to build character in our youth. When we analyze the behavior of Colin Kaepernick it is one of character even though many may disagree. His protest was a peaceful protest therefore setting a great example for the youth. He did not resort to violence. Nor did he resort to name calling or respond to the many accusations of treason. He followed the steps of the great Martin Luther King.
Dr. Martin Luther King led a movement of non-violent, peaceful protests to fight racial injustice in the United States. The first example of this movement began in December of 1955. It was the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the southern state of Alabama. King’s role in the bus boycott won international attention. His example of mass, nonviolent protest was a model for fighting injustice in the United States for decades to come.
Colin Kaepernick followed the same pattern. He is allowed these rights according to the first amendment. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
However, the government may regulate the time, place, and manner in which the protest is conducted. This standard was further established by a 1989 Supreme Court decision (Ward v. Rock Against Racism), a case challenging the constitutionality of New York City’s noise ordinance as applied to Rock Against Racism’s concerts in Central Park.
The Charlotte County School District has validated the perception that many Black youth have regarding schools. Black adolescents believe school is a hostile place and administrators and teachers are oppression agents. This causes them to believe that White teachers symbolize the racism Black students have endured throughout their entire lives. As a result, Blacks are not willing to perform well in school due to difficulty with crossing cultural lines which will impact student achievement on standardized assessments therefore making the school look inadequate in their attempt to education black students.
The next hurdle that the Charlotte County School District will face is a drop in the number of teachers of color in their school district. Event though the teacher followed their instructions, it is noted that she cried. This will have lasting repercussions.
Other potential teachers of color will note that the culture at the Charlotte County School District is anti-Black and therefore opt to either work for another school district or choose not to participate in the education arena at all. The Charlotte County School District must ensure to students and teachers of color that they are important by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships.
All the best,
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
- Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships
- Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
- The Raccelerate Formula App
- Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education
- The Ultimate Guide to Classroom Racism Management
“Dr. Campbell did his part and now all we have to
do is run with it.”
~ Tom Coleman ~
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Public Schools Superintendent of Schools
“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