It’s important that we commit to helping change the negative stereotypes of Black boys in schools and society. One of the stereotypes and stigmas of Black boys is that they are always sagging their pants. Although there are many benefits of having a Black male teacher, one in particular is that Black boys get to see a professional Black man standing before them daily.
Many of our young Black male students can benefit from having more positive Black role models in their lives. Organizations in Atlanta such as Profound Gentlemen, Fathers Incorporated, the Men of BOOK are partnering with Metro Atlanta schools in support of empowering Black males.
Changing the Dress Code for Black Boys Increases Their Opportunities!
Black male educators in the Atlanta area are working to change how Black boys are viewed in society. Mecario Harris, Interventionist at Thomasville Heights Elementary School, is leading an awesome initiative to support the Black boys at his school.
The 250 Belts is a Belt-drive started by Mr. Harris who was previously a Math teacher at the school. He currently still collecting 250 belts for Black boys at his school in the Thomasville Heights community.
Thomasville Heights is a still a long time, lower income community that still has a lot of struggling families. The school website has a school supply list and other resources that can be donated in support of these students. Drop off times are from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. as the first day of school is about two weeks away.
As a call to action, I’m asking for the support of Metro Atlanta stakeholders, you don’t have to be Black or a male, to drop off belts at Thomasville Heights Elementary School before the 1st day of school.
Mr. Harris is evening giving the option of the the belts to be picked up. These are resources that are needed to helped our Black boys be ready to meet any opportunity to help lead them to success. We must support Black male teachers who are the bridge needed in these important times of development.
“It’s not just about pulling up their pants’, says Harris. It’s about empowering them to want to present the best version of themselves when they leave out the house. Helping our boys be “swagged out” is important to them. Why not be swagged out when you come to school?
We teach children that when you look good, you feel good. We need Black boys too feel good about coming to school. Starting in elementary school is what will make the difference. Many of them come to school with clothes that are too big. This causes their pants to be baggy or sag. Harris was motivated to do the belt-drive due to his students desire to improve their appearance.
This drive is a result of a school leader intentional about the success of young Black boys and with social justice driven Black male teachers. Having strong Black male teachers on the elementary school level is key to helping provide positive Black male role models daily for Black youth.
For more information or ways to support the 250 Belt-drive contact Mecario Harris, 404 – 621 – 8471 or [email protected].
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.