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safety in schools

I was reading through people's blogs and it struck me how many talked about violence in schools.  I went to South in Minneapolis and the an alternative school and although there were a lot of fights, what always stood out to me was one incident...

I graduated ten years ago, but what I thought was the worst incident of violence (in my mind)was perpetrated by our police liason officer against a student.  The student was outside smoking and the police officer essentially flipped out at him because he was talking back, and hit him across the face so hard with his walkie talkie that you could see the imprints of the buttons.

We would have uniformed and plainclothes officers in my school often, and they never made me feel safe - it was the opposite.  I guess I just wanted to share that and perhaps complicate issues regarding safety in school. 

Comment to Bute0023 blog post

I had a similar experience to yours about the free/reduced lunch in high school except for me, everybody would still get the same kind of food. It's really interesting to see how your school had certain colored tickets and different lines for students to get lunch. I have never experienced that in high school and I bet it must have been hard to deal with. High school is the year where you make friends and try to adapt to the environment you're in, but it is very challenging because at that age group, we tend to not block out factors of race, class, and gender. Looking at the fact that your school did not have that many minorities compared to my school where there were more minorities, makes me see things differently from you, but at the same time I see where your coming from. The fact that there were more Caucasians at your school, you don't look at race as much, but instead you look at the class range of higher/lower-income. This is how I examined your blog post compared to my blog post. it differs when you look at class, gender, and race and at the same time it is similar, except we all look at it differently as one and sometimes not as a group or vise versa.

Blog 8

I think the danger and bravery Asher talks about have to do with acceptance within a group. The students who 'outed' themselves in her classroom were risking losing the similarities that tied them to their peers. The danger was losing identification with one group or another. Asher talks about her mixed race student being in danger in terms of "the history of racism and slavery in the South." While I agree that racism is a cause of division along the lines of skin color, I don't think it's accurate to account for the divisions themselves this way. Had their been a group of mixed race students, it would not have been so brave for this one student to admit to her belonging to that group. It was the fact that she no longer automatically fit into one of the predefined categories that made her brave.

 

This sort of cliquing brings teenagers to mind, and I think no one can more aware of her own belongingness than a high school student. It is difficult to talk about race and class in my high school, because the vast majority of us were white, middle class Christians, and as a member of this group, I did not pay attention to the experiences of those few students who didn't fit into this category. I certainly never witnessed any overt racism, although I can remember some tension between the very wealthy students and the poorer ones. The one aspect of identity I can imagine being troublesome is sexual orientation. The homophobic ideology in my high school reflected that of my community as a whole. Anti-gay language was common, and many of my classmates attended my church, which is officially opposed to homosexuality. I think it would have been dangerous to my comfortable status to have been gay. Now that I think about it, the one time I can ever remember being teased I was accused of being a lesbian.

 

As far as surveillance and rebellion, it seems to me that this is mostly an issue when the teachers and administration are different from the students in some way. Lomawaima discusses the white authority's surveillance of Native American students. Similarly, it is easier for authority figures to hand down their ideologies and social norms to students who are like themselves. This was the case at my school. Our teachers were our parents or people very much like our parents, and we generally accepted their views of the world.

Week 8

I have to laugh when I hear the phrase "students' resistance to the intense surveillance that they faced in school" I went to a standard high school in the suburbs, it was not thought of as a risky place within the surrounding communities (I think). Anywho, I do understand the surveillance piece as a superior group (staff) watching and discerning for punishable actions amongst the Proletariats (students, hehehe). But for what reasons? Why are staffs watching us so closely? Because I might try to pierce my tongue? Maybe, however I was under the impression that we are held in lockdown at youth for safety purposes. As a white middle class female I was given an abundant amount of resources about what I did and did not have to tolerate, posters, movies, guest speakers, student orientations. Going through sex ed courses discussing sexual harassment and inappropriate mannerisms, plastering girls bathroom stalls with info on unwanted touching, attention, actions and the severity of such an offense gave me the impression that if I were to tell just a random adult in a random supermarket that I was being violated that they would personally take me to a place where legal action could and would be taken. After this said complete stranger has made sure I know how loved and special I am and of course, how much I don't deserve such treatment they would let the professionals handle the problem. All involved offenders would be punished to the maximum extent of the law and justice would be served. The message they were sending me was "I care about you, the student as a person, I'm genuinely interested, it is safe and in everyone's best interest to talk openly with advisors when there is a problem. All right, cool. In my junior year of high school I was laying on my front with my elbows propped up supporting my head, reading a book, enjoying the sunshine when a posse of minority Asian males walked by and decided they wanted to slap my ass. I have never met any of them; they don't talk to people at school who aren't "like them". A few of them grabbed and slapped my but in succession, laughing, and walking away as if nothing happened. I got up and was yelling my male friend came up and tried to defend me. By then, one of their posse had pulled the car around while another grabbed an honest to god real fucking machete. My friend scrammed. The posse scrammed. I was still standing there, shocked. I went to the school staff with my story; they didn't seem moved at all but just sent me to the principal's office. Upon explaining the situation to the fucking Hopkins High School principal I was given a very vague justification for the way that "boys just act" and some sort of rambling that didn't make sense. Everything but his words told me that I had already made too big of a deal about it and, to just kind of let it go. I left the office with absolutely no knowledge of what would happen next and what to do. Don't worry though, I learned what to do next time. Shut up, giggle, cry to my mommy or other equally moody irrational females, go "hysterical", or become a die hard angry feminist, despising and tarnishing the good reputation of men in pursuit of a "twisted Justice that only applies to females" or in other words, recognition that I am a person too.

By the way, I realize my story is skewed as far as race goes. I'm not justifying it. I had a bad experience with a couple of males who shared similar attributes, Asian immigrants. That's the end of the story, where did any one, including myself take a step back and question how this one and ONLY experience would forever alter my perceptions on an ethnicity? How many people ever do?  I would argue that I am one of the lucky ones to even realize this.

My experience with RACE and CLASS

I attended a primarily white elementary school, middle school, and high school, located in a mainly white, seemingly middle-to-upper class Christian city. There were only a handful of people  who fell into the non-white category. On one hand, those people stuck out because there were so few of them. On the other hand, as I discovered after coming to the UofM,  I had truly considered the minorities to be white like everyone else. I think this was because they lacked their own racial group to identify with, and were therefore forced to identify with the white students. It never even occurred to me that they may have had different beliefs and backgrounds than most of my home town seemed to have had. I think the students of color probably tried to fit in with the white students as a protective measure. I was always under the impression that everyone was rich and white, but I look back and wonder how many other people thought the same thing, and perhaps tried to mask their own race or class differences in order to fit in with the prescribed "norm."

Coming from a less-than-wealthy family myself, I had always felt somewhat out of place throughout my middle and high school years. I remember having to go to the office before the school day began to get my free/reduced lunch tickets. It was embarrassing for many reasons; 1) Full-priced lunch tickets were purchased in the cafeteria, whereas mine came from the office.  I would do my best to sneak in and out of the office to avoid being seen there. 2) The reduced/free lunch tickets were a different shade of red and blue than the full-priced tickets, making it obvious  that I was holding on to a free/reduced lunch ticket. 3) There were two meal lines; one for free/reduced tickets and one for full-priced tickets, physically separating me from the "normal" kids. 4) I was limited to either the hot lunch or the cold lunch; I could not buy cookies, pretzels, slushies, etc that everyone else seemed to be getting.

My experience in the lunch room was in no way comparable to race issues. After all, I am no longer on free/reduced lunches; I was able to escape the discrimination that I felt, which does not happen for people of color; my issues were invisible because I could try to find ways to cover up my situation,  whereas skin color cannot visibly be masked.

Blog 8 Entry

The Lowawaima reading made me wonder about how schooling has changed for Native American students since the boarding schools of the 1800s and early 1900s have closed, and then I remembered the book Staggerford by Jon Hassler (it's one of my very favorites! http://bit.ly/kHFUF). Even though it is a work of fiction, the book describes a very interesting cultural and racial dynamic between a small Minnesotan school district and its Native American students from a nearby reservation.

 

The book's narrator is an English teacher, Miles, and he describes day-to-day life at the school over a one week period. There are two students in the school, a boyfriend and girlfriend couple, who are Native American and they are constantly getting in trouble with the school. The problems the two students are having, along with poor attendance and graduation rates of all Native American students (except one who had gradated a few years before, received a scholarship and left the reservation), leads the school district to develop a plan. The principle of the school urges each teacher to "adopt" their own Native American student, increasing the surveillance on the student. The intention of this adoption program is to produce more students like the one "successful" Native American student they had.

 

At no point in the novel does the school district consider cultural difference, instead, they just hoped to have the Native American Community adopt their cultural norms. This idea backfired, and a violdent incidence at school where a Native American student is beat up by a white student leads to a revolt by the reservation. They come into Staggerford, something rarely done, in a caravan and demand to speak with the white student, who does not receive adequate punishment by the school district. Mitigating the event eventually leads to an intervention by the local and state governor.

 

The most chilling part of this plot is the school district's continued correspondence with the government in which, instead of focusing on how to better relate with their Native American students, they talk about how they made progress with Native American students long ago in the past, and what is needed is more surveillance of the students. This very much reminded me of the correspondence in the Lomawaima article between Chilocco's Superintendent and the Field Supervisor where they discussed the clothing of the students, something that hardly affects an education.

 

In the book Staggerford, a students race determined their graduation rate, and if they were a behavioral threat to the school. The interplay that was carried out was one of violence, when the Native American and white student got in a fight, and the reservation community rose up in protest. It  was only when Miles and the (white) state government intervened that there was any semblance of safety.

Blog 8

Graduating high school only a few years ago as I reflect back I can see how the race, class, and gender of my classmates affected the interplay between danger and safety in the classroom. For me my education goes beyond just the curriculum performance but the socialization in the classroom that reflects the social norms. At my school the security was low having a security guard only at doors of the main entrances. As safety and security surveillance should be have been an important aspect in my school I felt that the problems were overshadowed by constant clashes between opposing subcultures.

 

Once incident that I remember quite vividly was a fight that broke out near my locker. It was between an African American female and a white female, fighting over what ultimately boils down to cultural differences. From this fight other students were put in danger and thus created a stereotype that the African American students were hostel.

 

This also caused teachers to look at them differently, and view them as less serious students. In high school I took many honor classes and participated in many extra curricular activities. I was often recommended by faculty for these classes because of my status and strong participation in school. I realized that the so-called minority were not nominated for these privileges, or placed in honor classes because they feared that they would not take advantage the doors these opportunities opened. The socially constructed view of low expectations for students of ethnic backgrounds brings fear of destruction to the teachers and other students.

 

 

 

Blog 8

I remember early on in high school when all the rules began to change facing gender, class, race and especially identity in relation to surveillance and rebellion.  They began with banning bandanas, they said it was a gang symbol and no single student was allowed to show any form of identifying with a gang or club.  I remember thinking that it was odd they included clubs and organizations as some sort of connection to a gang. 
After they changed the rules there was one day when I was standing outside of my locker putting my books away when a latino walked toward me and had a bandana in his back pocket. He leaned over and said "hola mami" at the exact same time that a security guard happened to walk by and immediately the security guard grabbed the latino, pushed him against the wall, and patted him down.  I was in shock.  I never actually knew if it was because he spoke to me or because of the bandana but it felt like such a violation.  A security guard patting down a kid with a bandana? It's hard to understand the difference between whether I would have been handled the same way had I decided to rebel and have a bandana hanging out of my pocket...it definitely feels like race, class, gender and identity all played essential roles in my school.


blog 8

The school and community I grew up in was a rural small town in Minnesota.  Everybody in town pretty much knew everybody's business, and there was very little diversity as far as race, our school district was mostly white middle-upper class kids with the exception of lower class white kids.  The Asher article talks about students being brave in outing themselves through self disclosure.  At my school no bravery like this existed because everybody already knew everything about you to begin with.  This tended to make our school dangerous for anybody that didn't fit into the mold of the athlete.  Many of our teachers and faculty were the coaches of all the sports teams so if you were a member of this elite group you were ok and not matter what you did there were literally no consequences.  I remember specifically one time a party was called in to the police, and all the people there were hockey players who were drinking underage and not one of them got a minor consumption because the police thought this was gonna be a great hockey season and didn't want to mess it up.  If you weren't in this group of wonderful athletes you were constatnly being tormented and made fun of for what you didn't wear or what your family couldn't afford to let you wear, and if any rules were broken by this group at school they were punished to the fullest extent.  Looking back at my high school days reminds me of how threatening this high school atmosphere was to anybody even remotely not fitting into the status quo.  The teachers and student body were against you.I think it really did a poor job of socializing and preparing students for the real world and was anything but an equal educational opportunity for kids.

Blog #8

Race, class, gender, and other aspects of identity shape and affect the interplay between danger and safety for students in schools. I went to Washburn Junior High School which is a public school in south Minneapolis. It is a diverse high school that I have estimated of about 30% African Americans, 20% Asian Americans, 20% Hispanics, 20% Caucasians and 10% were other ethnicities. The 4 years at Washburn was really good for me and I didn't think it was a bad school. I didn't have any problems with anyone, but I mean there were fights during my freshman and sophomore years. During my junior and senior year, the school became more diverse and students started to cooperate with each other.

 

There is danger and safety at Washburn, but there was nothing serious that would cause the whole school and students to corrupt. Washburn was more of a "ghetto" school back in my freshman year which made it seem like it was a bad school. As the years went by it became more diverse then it usually was. Being more diverse makes the students feel safer just because they know that they aren't outnumbered or lefted alone by themselves in a classroom environment. Since Washburn has become more diverse, it has shaped the school differently with the fact that nothing is used against the students and their identity. The students seem to be more open minded and respectful of their peers, teachers, and staff members. They all have equal opportunities, access to things or information, and same amount of help from their teachers which has given students a positive sense of graduating from Washburn.

week 8 - schools

The only time I can think of a dangerous situation in my schools was my 8th grade year of middle school. There was a threat left in a bathroom stall that on a certain date, the school was going to be blown up. The administration flipped it's lid and on the supposed day we all had to walk through metal detectors and get herded into the gym like cattle. We were sectioned off for hours while everyone was "processed". School started a few hours later. Most of the well off students' parents kept them home, but the rest of us still went. When they found out who made the threat he was immediately kicked out of the school and sent to another town a few miles away.
    Instead of handling the situation by trying to work out the root of the problem, the boy was constantly picked on relentlessly in and out of class, the administration just got rid of him. When I see him around the city, I still think of him as the kid who tried to blow up my middle school and wasted a good chunk of my morning that day. His reputation was tainted due to the situation. Obviously, our school was not a safe place for him to seek help. Not only was he constantly bullied, but he had no one to turn to in the staff in order to get help. I think that the entire day would have been justified, if after they found out who the student was, they counseled him and had an intervention with the students who bullied him to that point. Instead, they rushed him off to another school as a dangerous menace. He wasn't sent to an ALC school, but just another normal middle school.
    The Administration in my school just brushes this off as a one time incident. The boy was just a bad egg. They did not deal with the fact that a lot of students in our school were picked on. I know I was. During the time of the threat, students would tease and say it was me because I was quiet and didn't have many friends. Even at that age, there was a sense that the administration was not there to help you. I would assume that it was mainly the students like myself and that boy who weren't well off that felt this way. We were not offered the same educational opportunities in the sense that we had no one in the administration to turn to about our frustrations. Luckily, I had a good support system of friends who mattered more than those who made fun of me. He had the extra burden of being a male, so seeking out help for being constantly teased would have just gotten him picked on more because boys in my school were not supposed to be sensitive. Growing up in a small town north of the twin cities, you were to be a strong macho country boy, not a sissy. 

week 8 blog

My years of elementary and high school education were spent at a private institution, surrounded by middle upper class students, and the only diversity consisted of the kids whose parents were wealthy enough to adopt them from countries like China or Korea. So when addressing the issue of race, class, and gender, and the role that plays in the safety, surveillance, and rebellion in schools I have little personal experience. But from talking to friends I had in public school I somewhat got a sense of the diversity and how that affected their education.

I had a middle class white friend who attended a public school and she told me that teachers always had higher expectations from her because of her white status. She was put on the honors track and was a member of the national honors society and participated in many extracurricular activities. She would tell me how the minorities got away with not doing their homework and skipping class because it was just expected of them to not take school seriously.

Another instance that stuck in my mind is a story of a friend who attended a different public school. She told me about how each ethnic group would hang out in a separate hallway and if you were to go down that hallway and you weren't of that ethnic group, you would suffer consequences. There were times where she genuinely feared for her safety because of the lack of intervention the school took to make the school environment integrated.

An article I found on rebellion and deviance, attributed deviance to theories such as the labeling theory, control theory, and differential association theory.  The article also discussed how schools propagate capitalistic values such as competitiveness, by encouraging competition between the different ethnicities they were only furthering class divisions and producing hostility towards one another.

Blog Post #8

One thing that I noticed was very prominent in students (mostly of minorities) was how they defined their identity by their importance in school. They usually based this importance on the attention they received from other students, teachers and faculty. I think a lot of this relates to the identity they receive in the communities as well as society. A lot of minority youth and students feel a lack of identity, or that they are over looked due to the structure of society that carries over into the structure of their schools. This translates from society to our schools they are looked down upon and aren't held up to very high expectations. So the identification placed on minority students contributes to the lack of expectation (we talked about this in class) that society has.  There's a lack of expectation in performance in various aspects of school, so the students aren't given the proper attentions, encouragement or care. There is an emphasis isn't given to minority students that most students receive, and the only way they get the attention, a care or interest, is through discipline. This is why I feel a lot of minority students are labeled as troubled, bad or as misbehaving, because they are longing for that attention that's says there important, instead they receive discipline.  So the lack of care that society has a whole for minorities or people of color is lacked and replaced with discipline for negative behavior is translated over to our children and the schools they attend.

Blog Post #8

I think what occurs in schools, the forming of groups based on race, gender and class, is encouraged by both inside (within school) and outside (outside school) forces and is a matter of feeling safe and secure within a social group.

 

When I was in young I attended a public elementary school in St Paul. I formed a group of friends at that school, and also other friends from different schools I had met. I had one particular friend who went to another school that I was close with. As we grew older she got more and more distant, until one day she told me that she couldn't be friends with me any longer, because she had to start hanging out with 'her people'. I was 10 at the time and hurt but also understanding. Her people didn't look like most of the people I was friends with. So instead of questioning why she felt the need to stop hanging with me I let the friendship go.

 

Since she went to a different school than I did, I can't be positive that school influenced her decision, but with the way classrooms are structured, with kids of like ethnicity and gender grouped together, I can be pretty sure. I also point to outside influences as well, where kids notice racism, segregation and racial solidarity and feel that to be safe, liked and respected they have to stay with their racial group.

 

This also works for other 'isms', where kids of the same group not only bond together because they have more in common with each other than another class group, but also because of the fear of ostracization from their group. To seemingly rebel against their group by hanging out with people of a different group invokes the fear of being labeled as other within own their support group. The fear of not being accepted in any circle is so pervasive that people become willing to hurt another group to further cement their identity within their own group.

 

From my experience it has been the older kids get the more conscious they become of inequalities in the world and the stronger the need to conform is. By watching their world outside of school, children structure the classroom in the same way.

Week 8

When talking with education in the United States, I am very interested in it because I didn't attend elementary school, middle school and high school in the US. I don't have my story to tell. However, my cousin's experience is what I thought of.

My cousins were born in the Georgia and her town basically consists of mainly black and some white population and other minority races. My uncle decided to send them to private school after attending the 1st year of public elementary school. The reason was that he felt that the public school in the town is not "safe". There were mainly Black people (who are not from the middle class) that dominated the school. My uncle said they the school environment in public school at the town is not safe as it is too open to people and people from different class behave differently. He noticed that kids in the school did fight a lot and kids didn't behave well. My cousins were the only Asian in the class and the kids in the school seemed like not really like minority. This feeling made them feel like not being valued and helped. Although he wanted my cousins to learn about every race, but the "danger" that he felt from the school's atmosphere has threatened my cousins. As a result, they go to private school which mainly consists of upper-middle class white, black and other minority. There is diverse group of races in the school, but they are within the similar class. The private school has a more comprehensive safety rules and that effectively minimize the "danger" in school. To my uncle, the private school is a more "safe" place for his kids to learn and grow. I think my cousins have less chance to experience the valuable knowledge of learning from different people with different class since school is a place to socialize and to be humanized.

Blog #8

The story I thought of for this assignment were the two 11-year-old boys, Jaheem Herrera and Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, who committed suicide last April after constant harassment from students who called them gay. Herrera attended school in Georgia and was also teased because of his family's status as immigrants. Walker-Hoover attended a charter school in Massachusettes. In both cases, the parents reportedly expressed concerns with school officials about the harassment, but the parents felt their pleas were not taken seriously. Neither boy identified as gay, and Herrera's mother's mother says her son did not even know what it meant to be gay, he just knew the kids were teasing him.

Their story of bullying highlights the ways that danger and safety are connected to race, class, gender, and sexuality in schools. Schools are a place we feel we have a right to be safe, but I think sometimes we feel "safety" means free from physical harm, while ignoring the power of verbal assaults, which quite obviously threatened the sense of safety for these boys. When we think of schools as social institutions that inform our sense of identity, we can see how the "kids will be kids" mentality allows bullying to continue because it reinforces the dominant discourse of social norms. In the case of these boys, the norm of heterosexual identity.

Blog #8

After reading this weeks blog post prompt, I want to address the issue of Native American education.  My home state has a very large Native American population, and we have several reservations.  While we have some schools on the reservations, many Indian students attend the local public schools.  History has shown us that the U.S. Government tried to segregate Indian students when they first forced Native Americans onto plantations by sending them to Indian boarding schools and trying to "civilize" them by white standards.  Over the years, things have evolved, but at my high school, and effort to segregate the Indian students by incorporating a different curriculum plan is still in place.  The idea behind a special program for Indian students was that they are more inclined to not graduate and to get into trouble.  Therefore, the reasoning of the school officials was that they needed a program to keep them on the graduation track.  So they formulated a program that included Lakota language classes, personal counselors, and Lakota history and appreciation classes.  Every class was supervised by a Lakota teacher and the students even had a designated part of the school. 

 

My boyfriend is Lakota, and having gone to the same high school as me, he knew firsthand about this attempt to "round up" the Indian students.  When I brought up the idea of surveillance to him, he immediately agreed.  He said he felt targeted as a problem child simply because of the stereotype that existed about Indian students not graduating.  He participated in the program for one semester, and found it a waste of time.  The classes, according to his experience, were modified to be easier than regular classes with very little homework and a bigger focus on simply coming to class than excelling. He definitely felt that people, especially teachers, were almost afraid of having students like him in their classes. Now in college, my boyfriend isn't as targeted as he once was in high school but he still finds that the expectation he won't graduate still exists.  However, at least he is a success story of someone who broke through a stereotype to become successful. 

Blog 8 Assignment

When I first read the prompt for this week, it made me think about some of the concepts discussed in a few of my sociology courses, mainly focusing on the idea of the labeling theory (social-reaction theory).  This theory is used in regards to analyzing why crime occurs and basically entails the idea that many people commit crimes because they are already labeled as a criminal from the get-go, so turning to crime leaves them no worse off then they were prior to committing the crimes since they were already treated as though they had done something wrong.  This theory relates to the classroom and education in general as well because it is nearly impossible to view school as a safe or friendly environment when you are not only out-casted and alienated potentially by your fellow classmates, but the teachers and administrators treat and view you the same way as well.  Kind of plays of the old "damned if you do, damned if you don't" concept. 

 

For example, let's say you are a young black man whose family moved to a small rural town and now you are attending a school that consists of mainly white middle-class students.  You walk into the school and on the first day and the principle stops you and checks through your bag to make sure you don't have any weapons.  They don't check anyone else's bags, just yours.  The principle did this because he just recently watched a news story about gangs in Chicago, and you happen to look just like one of those gang-bangers, so before getting to know you to determine for himself that you are a criminal or not, he just assumes that you are to be on the safe side.  If I were this student, I would be offended and what to fight back against the schooling system for treating me this way for no reason other than the way I look.  Sadly rebellion is not encouraged in schools since the main goal seems to lean toward obedience of children rather than defiance, but I feel as though rebellion by students against injustice based off of their race, gender, class, etc is the rational reaction to the situations many students are going through. 

 

All in all, students are judged everyday based off of their gender, race, class, behavior, etc and this is done not only by other students and peers, but also by school teachers and staff.  We are taught that we have freedom of speech, but it seems like in a lot of cases, this freedom is left at the door when entering a school.

 

week 8- schools

            Although I have experienced quite a change in my educational realm throughout my life, the switch from my private elementary school to my first year as a 6th grader in a public middle school was a time of the biggest diversity. During my elementary school years in California, I went to a non-denominational private school from K-5, where my peers ranged from many different racial and religious backgrounds. Although there was a diverse group of kids, mostly everyone came from similar class ranks.

For my 6th grade year, I switched to a public middle school that was closer to my house. It was so much different: not only were there hundreds of more kids, their racial and class differences ranged a lot more on the spectrum than my private school.  This was the first time I saw poor white, black, Latino, Asian, etc. kids all around. I had never been to school with kids who were not as fortunate as I was. It was a very big eye opener. This was the first time I would see kids, usually not the same race as me, acting out and getting in trouble. A lot of this behavior I didn't really experience at my smaller private school. Of course I didn't think of it in a racist way, because I also saw white kids acting out and getting in trouble, too. The only difference is that when the kids opposite one's race was acting up, people got scared.

I used to get nervous because this was also a school with outdoor halls, meaning there is not as much surveillance or "hall monitors" around. This was a time where I feel like I saw a lot of kids doing some "bad" things or things that shouldn't be done at school. Although I was nervous sometimes (because I was shy) about the things I would see, I was interested. That middle school was different and more exciting than the small, private mostly-upper-middle class school I previously attended.

Title IX played a part in my life

I've been out of school for quite awhile and have been able to witness to some degree what it is like for kids to be in schools now.  I've seen some improvements in which there are more support systems in schools compared to when I was in school.  My oldest daughter graduated from high school on 2007.  There were support groups for GLBTQ friends, families and the students themselves.  A.A., N.A., stop smoking groups were also available.  There was one area in particular which caught my attention which did not seem to have much publicity in her high school.  Support for teen moms.  It couldn't be that there weren't any, so where was the publicity for this group of students? 

I was discouraged to find that in our school district, the teen moms usually end up going to the ALC & completing their schooling.  This is understandable, being that ALC's are usually able to be more flexible and accommodating and as is the case in our district, there is a child care center there for the mom's to bring thier child while they are in school.  I asked my daughter about this, if she knoew of any "inside reasons" the high school may have for most of the girls attending the ALC instead of their home school where their friends most likely are and possible the childs father.  She mostly felt that it had to do with safety.  For the mom-to be and then later on for the baby.  The hallways can get rowdy and rough even when there are not fights occurring. 

Why was this such an interest to me?  I had my oldest daughter while I was in high school.  I attended a high school for pregnant girls while I was pregnant, which covered our general required courses as well as pregnancy & child development classes.  This school I attended was in the Saint Paul School District.  This school was very diverse in population ranging from Hmong, African American/Black, Hispanic &  White/Caucasian.  Pretty much in this order of numbers from highest to lowest. Some of the Asian/Hmong girls were even married, which many of the rest of us were suprised to learn.  We all got along pretty well as a group of expectant mom's.  After my daughter was born, I transferred to a public high school in Saint Paul where I stayed until I graduated.  This school had a childcare center in it which served both as a support system for the mom's but also provided child development credit classes for any student who was interested.  We had to attend a class that covered parenting, child development and other topics pertaining to our post secondary acedemic goals(we had to make plans for our futures).  I would not have graduated from high school without this type of support which is a part of Title IX.  I did transfer from my home high school to the ALC my senior year, which is where I found out that I thrived in a non-traditional learning environment. 

Being that the high school I attended was known to be rough, violent and unsafe did not stop the fact that there were girls who stayed while they were pregnant and continued on with their own child in the childcare center.  We had plainclothed security guards walking the halls, doors that locked when the first bell rang in the morning and unless a fire alarm was pulled, only opened when the last bell rang at them end of the day.  There were police squads at each corner surrounding the school property in the morning and in the afternoon.  There was plenty of violence, fights, drug arrests & several reported rapes/sexual assults during my attendance there.  There was also no known reports of the childcare center having safety issues or any injuries to the expectant mom's. Knowing this makes me wonder, why the real reason the school district my daughter graduated from does things differently.  It is a suburban school district, not an inner-city school.  Who's interest are they really protecting in this decision.  I think the support systems that are place now are a great thing.  My high school did not have GLBTQ support groups or groups for drug/alcohol dependent students.  We needed those services just as well as any young girl who finds herself in a position of being in high school and becoming a young mother. 

Blog #8

School safety is one of the most important things in schools, as well as one of the most difficult to establish. In my high school, there were people of different race, gender, religion and sexuality. The security there was minimal, but I did notice some differences between who was getting in trouble and who was on the honor role.
Safety can be defined in different ways; the physical dangers in school (shootings, fights, etc), and safety in the classroom (asking for help, feeling like the teacher believes in you). I noticed that the kids that were getting into more fights and in the lower level classes were mostly minorities, while the upper level classes were filled with white kids. This could mean that the minority kids in those classes didn't feel safe asking for help, or just didn't feel like anyone cared whether they succeeded or not. Also, they could be swayed by cultural norms; if all of their friends didn't feel comfortable asking for help in class, then they wouldn't either. The teachers in my school were all well educated and nice, but because of the trend that minorities were in the lower level classes makes me think that they weren't creating a safe environment where the students could feel like they were appreciated and their opinion is valued.
Physical safely is also very important. There was low security in my high school and I felt as though anyone could walk in if they wanted to. Although we had security guards, they didn't seem to care who was coming in and out of the school. I noticed that more minority students (mostly male) were getting into trouble than white students. This could be because they didn't feel safe among their peers and felt like fighting was the only way to feel that way. Black children may feel like they are not noticed and create trouble just to make themselves feel noticed.
Schools should have safety regulations to minimize the threat of danger; it should be a safe learning environment. But when race, gender, and class are taken into account when it shouldn't be; kids may act out to make themselves feel better.

Blog 8 Assignment

After our discussion in Thursday's class and reading the Lomawaima article, I immediately thought of my high school.  I am from a small northwestern Minnesota town.  If I were to sum up our high school in one word, it would have to be sheltered.  The kids and faculty in my school were majority white and middle class.  The problems in our have never been more then the occasional fight, which very rarely happened, and the student who forget he had his gun in his car during hunting season.  However, during my sophomore year a school shooting occurred in Red Lake, Minnesota a small town about seventy miles from my hometown.  After that everything changed in my school.  Soon there were not only cameras in the parking lots, but they now filled every hall way and entrance.  My school has an open lunch policy, which basically means that kids leave and go as they please especially if you're a senior.  That rule was put into jeopardy because the school realized they didn't know who was entering and leaving our school.  As a result instead of banning the policy, they locked all doors except the main doors during school hours.  My school is very much shaped by local ideologies and policies. Like I said earlier, my school was very sheltered, nobody thought that a school shooting would ever happen.  However, after the Red Lake shooting people's eyes were suddenly opened.  

week 8 blog

In trying to think of something interesting to blog about, I stumbled across this story from cnn.com:  http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/09/03/high.school.put.downs.study/index.html#cnnSTCText .

 

The piece discusses a study that the University of Illinois did regarding the effects of "put-downs" and other verbal abuse that goes on in school.  I thought that it was interesting because it sort of umbrellas not only the aspects of race, class, and gender, but also the danger/safety, surveillance and rebellion.

 

As far as race, class, and gender are concerned, the news piece claimed the following: African-Americans are more likely to suffer the effects of verbal abuse than their peers.  There wasn't a huge division among class, as this behavior occurs just as much in private schools as it does public.  Finally, for gender, the study found that boys were more likely to have to deal with verbal abuse than girls. 

 

The piece is interesting because it also it encompasses the questions of danger and safety, surveillance and rebellion.  The story brought up that while private schools are typically more sheltered, the students within aren't protected from potentially serious emotional harm--how does this deal with surveillance?  The piece also brought up the issue of bullying--how does this deal with rebellion and student safety?

 

Overall, the piece made me think more about the events that my peers and I experienced during our pre-collegiate education, and the motives and interplay behind it.  In addition, I feel that it is relevant, because I believe that everybody goes through this unfortunate aspect of school, whether someone teases you over something inconsequential during recess or something much more serious and hurtful.

Week 8 Blog

When reading the prompt for this week's blog, I thought back to my high school. My high school was a small school, by most peoples' standards, in rural Nebraska and consisted of white kids mostly from low and middle class residents of the district. The high school was located in a small town approximately 30-45 miles from a large city. Until the Columbine tragedy, the school's doors were always open during the school hours and cameras were only seen in the parking lot and entrance of the school. Students were allowed to carry in back packs without going through security. We rarely thought twice about someone carrying in a knife, gun, or bomb. We knew each other and most had gone to school together since kindergarten. We played summer ball, hung out at each others' houses, and told each other just about everything. There were very few secrets. Diversity within our school was almost non-existent at least in terms of race and class. Gender differences would on occasion lead to a few verbal confrontations especially since the boys' athletic programs received more recognized than the girls' programs. The "no child left behind" regulation meant students were mainstreamed into the regular classroom that perhaps would have regularly spent more of their time with special education teachers. Since many of these kids had been a part of our elementary days, their "differences" were accepted and a normal part of our routine. All in all, our school was fairly accepting of each other. 

Our school was known by the other neighboring schools as having a strict administration and as a result, "our students could not do a thing without getting into trouble".  Our school had rules about cell phone usage in school, our dress and attire, and other small things that we considered a nuance. Skipping school was not even an option and vehicles could not leave the parking lot without special permission. As students, we at times felt we were imprisoned by all the rules, however, except for a few exceptions we chose not to buck the system, but rather abide by the rules. It was much safer than going against them. The majority of us grew up in the district as well as our parents. Our suspicion towards others would go on alert when someone new moved into the district or someone new option-enrolled into our school. What were they doing at our school? Where did they come from?  Look at how they dressed! Many thoughts and suspicions were exchanged between classes at the lockers. Who would be the first to talk to the new student, find out who they are, and where they came from?  Our sense of security was further betrayed if the new student was a good athlete and could potentially push us out of our varsity spot. The students in my school learned how to deal with the strict rules and were accepting of each other. However, we were much slower at accepting change, especially if that change meant a breach in our secure social environment, such as welcoming a new student to our "community".  Over time and with much persistence on the part of the new student, our "school community" would begin to see the newcomer as less of a threat. Once this occurred, our "social community" would be restored until the next breach brought on by a newcomer to the school.

 

Blog 8

Since I've been attending public schools all my life, I've seen and heard many things of how danger and safety has shape schools, but specifically on shooting, stabbing, and fights that changes the school safety rules.  For instance, in my high school, there is a variety of students with different background. And since my school is located near the city, students has access to threat such as getting killed, stabbed, fighting, and other things. Since violence has been a threat in my high school, the principal and staff decided to be concern about safety of the students. There were new rules about using school IDs to get access to getting inside the building and off campus for lunch. Without the IDs, a fee of $1 is needed to get a temporary one. More police officers were hired in order to secure the safety of students and looking out for outsiders. Just temporarily, students were scan by a scanning device just to see if they were carrying unwanted weapons. But how does improving the school safety help students improve their learning disability? So far from what I Know, it doesn't if more money is used on things that aren't helping students do well in school.

Base upon the race, class, and gender of students in my high school, whenever I go down to eat lunch; I always see the same race sitting with each other. It's not like I hate it, but it's very interesting to see same races being friends and hanging out together. I was the kind of person who wanted to make variety of friends from different race. Although I had Asian friends, I was uncomfortable because it's always the same story they tell and who's better at this and that and competition wise. It's easier to relate to similar race, but the diversity of friends I had made me learn about where they come from and I wouldn't have any misassumptions. 

Blog Assignment 8

The idea that education goes beyond curriculum, performance, and funding is an important one.  Nina Asher in her article, "Made in the (Multicultural) U.S.A.: Unpacking Tensions of Race, Culture, Gender, and Sexuality in Education" discusses many of the Federal laws that have been passed in the twentieth century to address the -isms in this country as it pertained to education.  For example, Brown vs. The Board of Education, which mandated desegregation, was a way to combat racism in public schools.  Also Title IX, which was a way to equal the playing field (literally and figuratively) between boys and girls in education and sports.  Not until the Civil Rights movement did things really move ahead in the direction that these laws were intended to address by imposing tougher penalties on discrimination of race, gender, religion and later sexual orientation to ensure an air anyway of safety.  The more complex issues of culture and identity are something that is tougher to regulate in any curriculum.  Our history of dealing with minorities has been less then stellar.  I love the quote that Ms. Asher included in her article by Audre Lorde (1984) who wrote, "Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people. As members of such an economy, we have all been programmed to respond to human difference between us with fear and loathing" (p.187 CP).  It is the "in-between spaces" that Asher talks about with regard to a "closed openness" then, which can appear, on the surface, to be democratically progressive and "inclusive" "(p.189 CP).  I see the segregation, and desegregation for that matter, of Blacks in this country as a perceived obligation by the White patriarchy to provide inferior schools to poor, mostly African American students, thereby ignoring real educational progress and opportunity while still under the scrutiny and surveillance of the power elite.  On the other hand in K. Tsianina Lomawaima's article, "Domesticity in the Federal Indian Schools: The Power of Authority over Mind and Body" Federally sponsored and run boarding schools for Native American kids was a means to an end for Native American culture.  It was a malicious and systematic genocide.  There was more interest in the surveillance of children (isolated from their families) and insistence of their submission and acceptance of white culture so that they may live "moral and spiritual" lives.  In the conclusion of Lomawaima piece s/he states that the government has failed to achieve these goals (p.210 CP).  I was shocked and wondered if Lomawaima has ever visited an Indian reservation.  If you've never visited a third world country you wouldn't have to go very far.  The rates of chemical abuse, addiction, suicide, health problems like diabetes, and domestic abuse are statistically alarming.  Yes, I would agree that " . . . they have created spaces of resistance within the often oppressive domains of education, evangelism, employment, and federal paternalism" (p.210 CP).  I also think there is a lot more that can be done on both sides.  I should say here that my father grew up on the Turtle Mountains Indian Reservation in North Dakota and was shipped off to a parochial school as a boy when his parents could have used him on the farm because they wanted something "better" for him.  He grew up straddling between two cultures, embracing white culture more then his Native American roots. Yes, there is a certain amount of rebellion that is required for survival and that which takes place, however it's hard not to read these articles and feel a little tired at what slow progress we are making.

Blog 8

            There are many things throughout the educational realm that can help or hinder a person's experience and growth within the classroom setting. I have personally seen the effects on myself and others by having a wide range of identities present within a school, but mainly through the classrooms themselves. In my high school, we had people from every type of race, class, religion, sexual orientation and gender imaginable. I consider our high school to be one of the safest considering all of the tension that was present due to these differences. We were able to have a very open door policy with any one of our teachers or the faculty; which, in turn, provided us with every type of resource through after school groups and organizations that addressed these issues. It wasn't just that we had the stereotypical athletic teams or band groups, but we also had an active and well-established GLBT group, religious group, Hmong dance group, and other various groups that encompassed a wide range of identities.

            These types of efforts provided support and assisted in celebrating the differences throughout our school. I think that in most other schools that have more problems with fighting and racial issues are not ones in which these types of groups are well established. This lack of the ability to express one's own culture; therefore, identity to the rest of the student body makes the other students uneasy about these cultures. People seem to be more afraid and intimidated about things that they are uncertain about and how students appear to deal with this are through making fun of other cultures which perpetuates hostility then fights. I think that if schools brought more of a focus to these types of organizations, not just the 'popular' ones (sports, band groups, etc...), then they would be able to lower the level of tension within the social realm of the classrooms which would make these places more safe and less dangerous for everyone involved.

Blog 8 Assignment

Race, class, gender, and religion definitely affect the environment of a classroom.  However, each school is different and the schools that have less diversity most likely have more conservative views on what is socially acceptable.  In my experience, I attended a suburban school where there was a lot of diversity.  My school was very close to Minneapolis so people from different races, religions, and neighborhoods all came together.  There was definitely segregation in friend groups but for the most part, students got along and treated one another with respect.  With regards to Asher's article and the feelings of safety and bravery in the classroom, I definitely can relate to the importance of being brave, being who you are, and most of all standing up for what you believe in.

In high school, many classmates came out, the homecoming court was mixed (black, white, latino), and many "normal" social identities were changing.  Although some ignorant classmates had problems with this, most of us were fine with it.  Being gay, a different religion, or a different race is part of life and it is important for a school environment to get kids "ready" for these aspects of the real world.  It does not make a difference whether your partner in class is a different race or your teacher is gay.  People who do not fit into a "normal" social identity are no different than anyone else.  This belief needs to be learned as well as embraced.  Our differences make us stronger, smarter, and we can learn a lot from one another.

To end on a side note, I will always remember the following situation I experienced junior year of high school.  I was sitting in the lunchroom with a couple of friends from class who happened to all be black.  After we were done eating, I was heading towards the cafeteria exit when an acquaintance confronted me in the hallway.  She asked, "Kelly, why were sitting with those girls in the lunchroom?"  I simply replied, "They are my friends, why?"  She said, "Oh, they're all black and I didn't think you were friends with them."  After the conversation, she looked at me in a disgusted way and walked into her classroom.  I was shocked.  Who the hell does this girl think she is and how disgusting is it that she would EVER think/say anything like that?  It just made me remember how ignorant some people are.  And if you were wondering about me and my old acquaintance...well, let's just say that was the last time we talked.

Week 8 Blog

I went to a private school made up of white and minority students from diverse financial backgrounds.  However, the school didn't have any diversity when it came to religion, most of the students were Catholic and similar forms of Christianity.  A Muslim girl transferred into my class when I was a sophomore.  It was hard for her to fit in with other kids because people would often define her by her religion.  She would wear a veil to cover her hair and neck, which people were put off by because they thought that it showed oppression.  People also had negative stereotypes of people of Islamic faith.  She eventually ended up transferring to another school.  As Asher discusses the issue of being brave in the classroom, which was a scary place for this girl because you would never know what people would say about her.  As far as the safety and rebellion issues brought up in Lomawaima's article, this girl did not feel safe in a school where her religion wasn't accepted.  It was strange to have such a racially diverse place that wouldn't accept people of other religions.

Week 8 Blog

I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis predominantly made up of white, middle to upper class families. I attended the same school system from first grade all the way through senior graduation and so did the majority of my school mates. We all grew up together and knew each other very well after spending so much time together. We had very little diversity in our class rooms however, I must say that everyone still seemed to be very open to all races, classes, religions, etc. even though we had little exposure to these differences. There was a small number of students of other races and I don't recall them being treated any differently. Differences in race and religion etc. were completely irrelevant. I remember always being really proud of where I came from because there seemed to be such little discrimination. This impressed me because often when students have such little exposure to diversity; it encourages stereotypical behavior and discrimination. I felt safe going to school everyday, there was very little if any vandalism or major issues and it seemed like everyone was accepted for the most part.

 

Educators treated everyone equally and with much respect no matter what race, class, gender, or religion they were. We were encouraged to be ourselves and to be successful. They treated us as adults yet still enforced discipline when needed and I think this played a key role in my high school experience being such a positive one. Because teachers respected the students, gave us freedom and little surveillance, for the most part students saw little reason to rebel. Students respected the teachers in return. (Of course there is always going to be a few exceptions.)

Blog 8

I think that growing up in the environment in which I did - largely white, conservative, middle to upper middle class in Southeastern Wisconsin provided for an interesting experience in education. For all intents and purposes, i was hugely privileged. My school had the "Principal of the Year", fantastic graduation rates and university acceptance rates. The few 'minorities' that lived in my town were all fairly wealthy, and their kids were generally on the honors track. I feel like I can make this blanket statement because of how few minorities there really were, or at least 'minority' in the sense that you can tell their 'differentness' visibly so generally,religious or race based minorities. However, I remember one very specific event that resonated with me as a serious limit to our acceptance of all of these different cultures (sarcasm intended).

When my school would nominate students for Homecoming or Winter Ball courts, sports teams and student organizations were allowed to either nominate just one student, if the team/organization was single sex, or nominate both a male and a female if it was an organization with both sexes. I had a male friend, who had recently come out (and in such a small school, everyone was bound to know within hours of such an event), and was also the school's only male cheerleader. On the other end of the spectrum, I had a girl friend who was the only female on our school's hockey team, and was dating the quarterback of our football team. When it came time to nominate students for Homecoming Court, both my male and female friends were nominated as the opposite sex counterpart for their teams. However, our athletic director adamantly refused to let my male friend be on Homecoming Court, while at the same time he allowed my female friend to participate. His reasoning was something along the lines of wanting to make sure there were equal males and females on the court, and since some organizations had only nominated one person, my friend would make it uneven.

Looking back, I wish we had fought harder against our athletic director, who regularly favored his preferred sports and students, especially through the "random" drug testing that somehow was never done on the football and basketball players known to smoke and drink regularly. While I remember being thrilled when my friend came out, and the largely positive response that the student body gave him, it still remained within the educator's realm of power to hold him back, in whatever way they could. In this case, by showing him that he was not equal, he did not have equal opportunity, even for something as seemingly minute as Homecoming court. It scares me that even when a student body may have the potential to work towards a more intersectional educational experience, it is the educator's themselves that limit that potential. I think in some ways, Asher's discussion of bravery and safety in the classroom has its points. While this situation is very different from what she discusses, the principle is the same. It does take bravery to 'out' yourself in an environment that may not respect who you are, and find a way to punish you. I think Asher's commentary on her brave student teachers is interesting, because what she is trying to provide them, may in some ways already be inherent in the students they will eventually be teaching. While she is in many ways condescending to her group of teachers, I think the experience of many students is that sort of openness, while desired and not yet squashed in the mind of the teenager, is not available because the educators have not provided an environment in which it is rewarded. 


Blog 8

I went to high school in a small town which was predominately made up of white middle class students. The boy's basketball team was the most important aspect of our high school because they went to state for seven consecutive years. I saw how race, class, and gender affected the rebellion in schools between this group of white, middle class boys who played basketball. It was expected that they were "good" students since they were in all of the honor classes and the school and local community looked up to them as basically heroes. They used this local ideology to their advantage and rebelled. They were caught numerous times at drinking parties or even calling a teacher and harassing him about his sexuality. Because there was this preconceived notion that the basketball players were "good boys", they suffered very little penalties for their actions. Not only would it mean giving the basketball team a bad name if the boys were punished, but they would also risk not going to state another year. It was the fact that these boys came from "good" homes..white, middle class, and had fathers who owned local businesses...that they were able to get away with their rebellious actions. On the other hand, there were cases where girl softball players were caught drinking and had to sit on the bench for five games. People in other sports were not treated the same because they were not made up of solely white middle class males. Other sports had minorities and women playing for them and had the status of lower class or middle class. The minorities and women and people of the lower class were not looked at as "good people" because their families didn't hold high positions in the town and most were not in the honor classes. They were not allowed to rebel, and school was looked at as dangerous to them. For the boys basketball players, school was a safe zone because no matter what they did, the local townspeople and the school looked at them and thought they were inherently good, so no action they could do would reverse that image. Going along with Asher's feeling of safety and bravery in the classroom, or in even in sports, no one felt that it was a safe environment in my school unless you were part of the boy's basketball team. To stand up to them and the easy way out that they often received would be to challenge the whole town.

Carlisle Indian School and the U of M

After reading Lomawaima's article about the schools for Native Americans in the late 1800s and early 1900s, I immediately remembered a fictional journal in the Dear America series that had been written by a Native American girl at the Carlisle Indian School. It was interesting to contrast this fictional piece of work with the stories that Lomawaima recalls from the alumni about the "bloomers." From the journal I read, the girl was timid, alone, and depressed. The situation at the boarding school made her uncomfortable and homesick; the clothing was uncomfortable and rough. The European underwear was the worst part. Unlike in Lomawaima's narratives, this little girl Nannie Little Rose never belonged, never felt camaraderie with her fellow students, and never felt strong enough to commit acts of resistance. She worried about her appearance because she thought she was turning white. For Little Rose, her experience and position made rebellion seem impossible, especially if she wanted to maintain her safety. Her gender played a large role in her experience because her brother's experience is contrasted in the novel as being positive and enjoyable.

            In adding to Asher's discussion about safety and bravery in the classroom, I recall a course I took last semester in which we did an activity to share life stories and make a connection with the people in the classroom. We would stand up and start telling stories from our lives that related to stories of family, love, and acceptance, and we would interrupt each other when we heard something that connected to one of our stories. It was an interesting experience because I think it relates to Asher's sense of bravery and safety and in the classroom. It was not exactly comfortable to stand up and tell our stories, nor was it liberating. I felt like I was telling personal stories to strangers that were not necessarily entitled to hearing my stories. I did not feel like I was being brave, I did not feel like the classroom was necessarily safe or dangerous, nor did I feel like I was rebelling by speaking about my personal experiences that no one would expect of me. In retrospect, the activity had good intentions, but seemed out of place in the classroom setting. It seemed surreal, forced, and not genuine. Many students seemed to be justifying their privileges by the few vulnerable situations they have experienced. I do not want to take away from their experiences, but the feelings I gathered from the overall experience were disingenuous.

blog 8

Race, class, gender and other aspects of social identity shape and affect the interplay between danger and safety, surveillance and rebellion in schools.  For me, it's been a very long time since I was in high school.  I attended a private Catholic school until 5th grade, when I demanded that my parents put me into public school (I didn't fit in at school because I was one of two or three poor kids that were sort of ostracized as we all got older).  I moved around a lot as a child, and at the end of 5th grade wound up going to school in North Carolina.  It was a much different experience than going to school in Minnesota.  At my Catholic school, it was overwhelmingly white and upper class.  The public school I attended in Minneapolis was very diverse, and I felt way more comfortable there.  Moving to the south was something incredibly different however. 

It was in North Carolina that I experienced racism in a very upfront way.  Perhaps I was naive, and missed some more subtle signs that I can identify now that I'm older, but one incident really stood out to me.  My parents had made friends with a couple who had five children.  For lack of a better term, they were total white trash.  I went with my parents one night to hang out with the family, and had a strange experience.  I was 11 years old, and their children ranged in age from 5 to 12.  The oldest girl came up to me and asked if I would ever marry a black guy.  I responded with a simple yes.  She proceeded to freak out, and run to my parents to "tell" on me.  She repeated what I said to my mother, who responded with, "and?"  The girl questioned her, "well, ain't you gonna whoop her?"  My mom said no, and we promptly left.  The next day at school I was at recess, spinning double dutch with other girls.  I suddenly realized that I was the lone white girl playing with the African American girls.  Before the prior night, it really had never crossed my mind at all, but I remember looking around and seeing how segregated the kids were by race.

Although I hadn't grown up knowing a lot of minorities, I was never made aware that race or ethnicity was an issue.  In North Carolina, I realized that it was an issue - although I don't think I really understood why back then.  I lived in North Carolina for less than a year before my family came back to Minneapolis, but it was an interesting experience.  After that incident I was more aware of how other white students treated me, which I believe was different because I hung out with whoever, and that apparently was a strange phenomena there. 

Week 8 Blog Assignment

Our readings on education- particularly those by Asher and Lomawaima- discuss aspects of education beyond curriculum, performance, and funding. These authors focus on social and cultural aspects of education that reflect and reproduce social inequalities and hierarchies of identity. As we discussed in class on Thursday, an important part of education is the socialization that occurs in schools as students are taught skills and ideologies that reflect social norms.
Asher discusses safety and bravery in the classroom, which (as we discussed) implies that the classroom can be a dangerous or risky place. Lomawaima describes students' resistance to the intense surveillance that they faced in school. In this week's blog post, I'd like you to reflect on how  race, class, gender, and other aspects of identity shape or affect the interplay between danger and safety, surveillance and rebellion in schools. You may use your own educational history as the basis for this analysis, or you may use a news story about schools or a fictional work. Keep in mind from our discussion on Thursday how schools are shaped by local, state and national policies and ideologies as well as Mickelson and Smith's analysis of equality of educational opportunity.

Suggested Length: 200 words