“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.”
– Lady Bird Johnson, Former First Lady of the United States
I dare you to ask any Black person when they had their first Black teacher. Ask them. I dare you. The lucky ones will be able to name a teacher they had before 5th grade. Then there are the ones who sought out these educators – attending HBCUs or schools with diverse faculty. Then there are the ones who will look you in the eyes and say “Never”. There are Black people who have never been taught by a teacher who looks like them. Never. What does that mean? To never see yourself in an environment responsible for molding who you’ll become? What does that do?
Did you know that at all socioeconomic levels, Black students are more likely to be suspended than white students? Dr. Luke Wood, Vice President for Student Affairs and Diversity at San Diego State University, collected a school year’s worth of disciplinary data between 2018 and 2019. According to his findings, Black boys were more than five times as likely as their peers to be suspended in kindergarten through third grade. It could easily be said that Black boys are simply badly behaved, that’s why. But we all know that’s not true. Instead, discipline disparities are better explained by the behavior of adults—teachers, assistant principals, and principals.
That's why this Jacksonville Florida School is making headlines. You’ve heard of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), but what about an HBCU inspired Elementary School? Becoming Collegiate Academy is just that. Cameron Frazier, the school’s executive director, shared his strong feelings about the importance of HBCU inspired schools saying, “It’s very important that our students see role models who look just like them standing in front of them every single day,” in an interview with First Coast News. Children always have and always will have the implicit right to a safe place to learn.
Here are HBCULeggings we’re wishing our friends, the Becoming Collegiate Academy Brown Bears, happy holidays, a successful school year, and much success.