‘Stop and Search’ – Our Classrooms

The universe is compelling me to write.

Stop and Search.jpg

In 2010-11 You were six times more like to be stopped and searched if you are a young black male. Being six times more likely to be stopped and searched based on the colour of your skin is abhorrent.

But Pran, Life is better now it’s 2019…

Random teacher

This ratio increased to 8.4 times in 2018.

When the Macpherson report (20 years ago) stated that the metropolitan police are ‘institutionally racist’. These figures were half as many.

Racism is on the decline. Things are getting better. Right?

Same Random teacher

Unsurprisingly, you are more likely to stopped search in a less diverse area. Dorset and Suffolk topped the scales with ratios 25.6 and 17.8. I’m going to say that again,

You are 25.6 more likely to stopped and searched in Dorset and 17.8 times more likely in Suffolk; if you are black than if you are white!

Pran Patel

The effect of disproportionate negative impact where you have lower numbers of people of colour is echoed in education, I write about the Gollem effect here.

 

Also, let me make clear you are less likely to carry drugs if you are black. There is no reason this should be happening. The literature also states that an increase in stop and search has no discernible impact on knife crime.

As for the use of weapons searches, the evidence is clear: increases in the use of stop and search do not lead to any discernible drop in violent crime.

Micheal Shiner

Stop and search is racist, yes I said it, stop and search is a systemic tool, which is disproportionately used by the establishment (kyriarchy) to disadvantaged PoC.

Used as an antibiotic to a resistant infection, stop and search is overly prescribed to the detriment of its own effectiveness, squandering police time and energy that could otherwise be expended on protecting the wider community.

David Lammy

‘Nobody wins when stop and search is misapplied. It is a waste of police time. It is unfair, especially to young, black men. It is bad for public confidence in the police.’

Theresa May

The statement was justified by our former prime minister with the finding that 27% of incidents in 2014 did not contain grounds to stop and search (although senior officers had authorised them). As we increase these powers, I fear we will see more of the same.

I write this as a man of colour who has endured/witnessed the indignity of being stopped and searched. The only thing I learned from that experience is we live in a world where there are people who care, and their people want to exert their power upon others. I was below those officers that day because of the colour of my skin; the power structures were made very clear. I was just playing the role of who I was expected to be.

What does that do to the psyche of a young man? Living a society in which you belittled because you look ‘dodgy’ because you look different, you deserve to be treated as less.

Parallels in Education

Teachers aren’t racist. There isn’t a teacher in the country who would regard themselves as racist.

Random Teacher 

I’d agree, with would also hope that there isn’t a police officer in the country would regard themselves as racist either. The individual label of ‘racist’ is pointless and damaging to equity (future blog coming0.

The national statistics are clear. The damage that has and is being done is clear.

A British black Caribbean boy with SEND is 168 more likely to be excluded that a British white girl without SEND. To compound this, you are twice as to be diagnosed with a SEMH needs (there is a statistical significance when factors such as social-economic, etc. are accounted for)

“Black Caribbean children may be suffering an inappropriate and narrowed curriculum, from unwarranted over-identification, particularly [in] secondary schools.

“This might mean they get less academically challenging, more vocationally orientated work perhaps,” he said, “like being shifted from maths to motor maintenance, or experience a lowered expectation of what they can do.

“From the factors that we have measured – socio-economic background, poverty and neighbourhood deprivation, and children’s development on entry to school – we can’t explain why, in particular, black Caribbean children and mixed-black-Caribbean-and-white children are more likely to be diagnosed with SEMH.”

Professor Strand

Is this unconscious bias at work? The question we should be asking is, why are we making choices that lead to these national figures?

Whether this is conscious or unconscious is irrelevant.

I have written about the impact of the Pygmalion and the Gollum impact here with regards to pupils of colour. Simply put, pupils conform to what people expect of them. Are we part of the cause of the disproportionate exclusion lower achievement and ultimately the system which propagates this as the status quo?

Please do reflect on the question ‘What do you ‘actually’ expect from your pupils’?

Things we can do as Educators

1.    Admit you are biased; without this recognition, you are likely causing harm.

3.    Analyse your behaviour records and act accordingly, which groups are receiving which sanctions? After working with a school in London, black pupils were often receiving the behaviour consequence of defiance from staff. Since the introduction of ‘words, not tone’, there has been a significant fall in the numbers and anecdotally ‘pupil-teacher relationships are much better’.

“Is it that these young people from these ethnic groups are more confrontational with their teachers because of gang culture or is it a perception of their behaviour?

“It’s important for schools to look at their policies and see that there isn’t anything that would cause a systematic bias in the way special needs and SEMH is identified.”

Professor Strand

3.    Analyse your biases. Teacher assess where you think your pupils are then blind mark your assessments (or even better swop with a colleague) and then compare. (We know pupils of colour are often disadvantaged as their teacher think they are below where they are. link). Then act to change your expectations.

 

References

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/oct/13/racial-bias-police-stop-and-search-policy-black-people-report

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/apr/30/theresa-may-reform-police-stop-and-search-powers

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/oct/13/stop-and-search-is-unjust-unfair-ineffectual-david-lammy

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-47240580

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