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Small Mistakes Mean Big Consequences For Students of Color; MMSD Behavior Plan is a Step in the Right Direction


Academy Sponsors Spring2017Students of color and students with disabilities in school are too often categorized as bad students even if they have done very little wrong. If they have made a mistake, they are instantly labeled as a bad kid for a while, if not almost their whole life. That stigma might change who they are and make them believe that they are bad humans and students and continue making more mistakes that lead into doing wrong and illegal things. “White privilege”gives some students special rights that people of color don’t have. A possible resolution to this problem could be that  teachers and adults could stop profiling students of color and try to equally provide fairness to each student.

After Madison Metropolitan School District began using a new Behavior Education Plan last year, students and even teachers have made progress, resulting in a decrease of 4 percent of students being in major trouble for any reason compared to 2015-16. Out of school detention had decreased by 23 percent as compared to 2013-14,  but then increased by 19% 2015-16 and 2016-17. According to a school district report by Leia Esser, Director of Student Physical, Mental, and Behavioral Health, “Disproportionality in the use of out-of-school-suspension persists for African American students.”

Students who are suspended two or more times (161 total) in high school, 63 percent are African American. In middle schools especially, students who are suspended more two or more times (191 total) in middle school are 64 percent African American and 54 percent are students with disabilities. Hopefully by using the plan, they may be able to lower these numbers and keep students in school. The students of color should not have their punishment be taking their education away from them, if there is any punishment at all.

The increases and decreases over the past three to four years have been inconsistent. Students and teachers are being taught a different way on how to deal with behavior, good or bad. The result of this change has been going well as the data has shown. As this Behavior Education Plan continues throughout the upcoming years, it will hopefully progress positively. There will be more improvements throughout the upcoming years to try and add new rules and resolutions to the Behavior Education Plan.

The Behavior Education Plan is trying to make an improvement of children staying in school and not away from their education because of the bad behavior they may or may not have committed. And as this become more of a positive improvement in the education system, maybe other places in different states may take this in as a consideration and might be useful for students.

This piece was produced by a student journalist in the Madison365 Academy. To learn more and support our educational programs, visit Madison365.org/academy.