Why Do Black and Latino Youth Struggle in School? [Reader Forum]

Colorlines readers suggest solutions to gun violence and overly punitive measures for school children.

By Nia King Feb 18, 2013

What do kids need to succeed in school? Freedom from violence, freedom from overly punitive disciplinary policies, and… oh yeah, the internet. Last week, **Julianne Hing** reported that in Florida, which has the [largest school-to-prison pipeline in the nation](http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/02/in_2012_florida_arrested_12000_students_in_school–and_that_was_an_improvement.html), 12,000 students were arrested 13,870 times in public schools for fist fights, dress code violations, and talking back last year. As **Jamilah King** reported, the [shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton](http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/02/chicago_demands_that_obama_put_black_and_latino_youth_front_and_center.html) has brought attention the danger Black and Latino youth often face just getting to and from school. On top of that, as **Jorge Rivas** reported, in many places [McDonald’s is the only location internet access is available](http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/02/not_loving_it_young_students_forced_to_go_mcdonalds_for_wifi_after_libraries_close.html) to students who need it for their homework. In the face of all these challenges, how to we enable Black and Latino youth to succeed in school? Here’s what you had to say. Regarding Florida’s school-to-prison pipeline, **Mom_Rants** said: > Great article! Through criminalization, the state can control and block racialized communities from voting (engaging) because "[c]onvicted felons are not allowed to vote in Florida." America has championed democratic rights globally, yet the infection of racial marginalization continues to plague the society. The micro behavior that is being exhibited by the children is a reflection of the nation’s macro culture – emotional crisis. **Brenda Fletchall:** > There seem to be similar increases in arresting children for "talking back" (which can include voicing dissent, depends totally on the teacher/school perspective) and in arresting adults for protesting back against government/corporate abuse. There seems to be an increased mindset of zero tolerance for dissent. **[Mississippi Youth Hip Hop Summit](http://www.facebook.com/MS.hiphopsummit):** > Mississippi is out of control also! We are working hard to push back here too! Big ups to Advancement Project! Regarding the lack of wi-fi access, **Christina Davis** said: > I have had this problem for the last couple of years. I thought it was just happening in my town. Our libraries here have WiFi, the problem is that the libraries close so early. Regarding the scourge of youth shooting deaths in Chicago, **Kevin Hill** said: > What about ending "no pass, no play" rules in school? Not just with sports but with band, choir, and all other extracurricular activities. These rules only push students out of the school when they need it the most. Change the way we grade a student from the ability to hand in work, to the ability to learn what’s contained in the work. I believe that averaging homework in with test scores is the biggest problem with education these days because it doesn’t truly reflect a child’s intelligence. > End the way we fund schools by spreading the money based on, not the ability of a school to pass a standardized test, but different factors like: The total number of students compared to money drawn from taxes from the community… What happens when we attach the amount of money a school receives to the ability of a student to pass a standardized test is that the schools start to teach only methods to memorize the answers to the test and not a method of critical thinking necessary to answer the questions without having ever seen the questions. > If the Black, Latino or even the white communities want to curb not just gun violence but violence in general then we are going to have to start coming out with information such as; information on who we think may be gang members with a violent intent (including the KKK); information on who may be involved in illegal activities (other than petty pot smokers); information on who owns an illegal gun and intends to or has used it for violence. There needs to be a forum for this information to be presented anonymously; the people and the government must take it seriously. _______ Each week, we round up the best comments in our community. Join the conversation here on Colorlines.com, and on [Facebook](http://facebook.com/colorlines) and [Twitter](http://twitter.com/colorlines).