In honor of National Family Engagement Month, I’m empowering our Black boys to drop guns, not classes! This is a real conversation our community needs to have right now . Families and educators need to be on the same page about gun control laws and policies on gun regulation. It’s up to us to protect our children. Guns and Black boys have been no stranger to any generation in America.The reality in America is too many Black boys are dropping out of schools and picking up guns.
Black boys are carrying guns for various reasons. I’m not here to justify their actions. In order to solve a problem, you have to understand why the problem is occurring. .Fear of adults or other students, gang violence, bullying (cyber, gender, sexuality, race, body size, etc.), protection after school, abuse, and a turbulent home life and some of the reasons why some Black boys feel they need to be armed. . Knowing the why will help our community address this issue..
What are we actively doing to take guns out of the hands of Black boys other than talking?
Illegal guns and drugs have been pushed into inner-city communities illegally and put into the hands of Black boys to create chaos in neighborhoods and schools. We will address mass school shootings while continuing to ignore the war on guns happening right at the door steps of public schools; helping lead more Black boys into the school to prison pipeline.
The Washington Post really breaks down the impacts of guns on children in a recent article on the impact of school shootings on students. When children are no longer feeling safe at school, it time to make some serious changes within our communities. Those changes should include city leaders up blighted areas, ensuring affordable housing acts are being honored, improving economic development by strengthening the workforce.
Families, city agencies and stakeholders must work together to improve schools, parks and recreation centers and ensure that there are safe routes to school. How many of us can say we’ve walked the routes children have to take to get home from school, the recreation center or simply around the community? It’s not safe. We fail to implement solutions to the known fact that many of our children are not living in safest areas.
So what do we do next to keep kids in schools and guns out?
I am encouraging parents to advocate for an increase in the number of Black male counselors in schools. Black male teachers in core content classes starting in elementary school helps. We have to change the presence of Black males in schools beyond disciplinarians.
Mentoring programs for Black boys such as Young Men Rising at 7 Pillars Career Academy provides resources for the Black boys through social emotional learning. Other schools such as RISE Prep partner with Fathers Incorporated to engage Black males in ways supporting literacy and other academic areas.
Placing more cops in schools doesn’t make children feel safer, it makes them feel targeted. It also doesn’t prevent guns from being brought to school. The presence of cops if anything creates more a fear factor, especially between cops and Black boys.
Healing needs to take place starting from the community. Improved policies around accountability for police officers, enforcing college and career readiness classes for parents with children beginning in grade 4. Every day after school I see Black boys leaving school and standing on the exit ramps in Atlanta selling bottled waters. Economic development impacts job market which impacts our children in schools. The youth are as young as 10 years old selling bottled water for survival.
Schools should be more than an educational center. It should also be a safe haven for children. If we aren’t advocating for stronger gun relations than we are welcoming illegal guns to be dumped in lower income areas and putting more Black boys at risk. Our schools should be leading conversations with families and communities on innovative ways to make schools and communities safer. Let this conversation is tur into action in your community.
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.