Anonymous Letter Campaign

Support African American At-Risk Students

Dear JCPS,

I agree JCPS is not offering African American at-risk youth what they need to succeed. I’m not sure if the district is not equipped, or doesn’t care enough to do the research and spend the funds to put the correct programs in place.

I am an ECE teacher in EBD self-contained classroom. I have never had any students that are not African American and my students are always disproportionately male. My heart is teaching African American boys, but I hate, hate, hate that many of them are labeled at an early age as having a behavior disorder. I see so much promise and I see a desire for acceptance and success in their eyes.

I am also a teacher that believes in starting everyday anew and not holding grudges or bringing up past behavior as a way to shame students. I have the same conversation every year the first day of school. As we get to know each other and talk about a self-contained class, I have them come up with places in society that are self-contained. Almost all of them list prison/jail as #1 and state (sometimes yell) that it’s not where they want to be. Then from that point, we make goals on how to get out of a self-contained class, be reintegrated in general education classrooms, and stay as far away from that school to prison pipeline as possible.

Here’s the even more amazing thing! All my students have from average to above average intelligence, but most have not had anyone focus on their intellectual talents. There has been too much focus on the negative. I would love to see JCPS begin providing more supports for my students and ALL African American at-risk students.

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