I hope everyone is healthy and safe.
Today, with a heart full of anger and sadness, I want to address an important issue that our nation is currently grappling with – racism. While TECA is focused on the needs of twice exceptional children and their families, in light of recent events, I believe it is critically important that we speak directly on the issue of systemic racism in the United States, particularly as it relates to our children.
In the days since the senseless and brutal death of George Floyd, people have risen up to protest the killing of unarmed black men by law enforcement and proclaim that Black lives matter. While we don’t dispute that all lives matter, right now, it is Black lives that are unfairly and disproportionately endangered and so we at TECA want to affirm that all Black lives must be respected and valued, and that all Black children must be equitably educated and supported.
This is an issue that goes to the heart of TECA’s core values. TECA is dedicated to serving ALL families with twice exceptional children. Twice exceptional children are found in all segments of society and are not limited to any particular racial, ethnic, cultural, or socio-economic group and TECA welcomes all families of 2e children who come to us for assistance.
Think about the common characteristics of 2e children. They may: be impulsive with little or no thought for consequences; be stubborn and inflexible; be emotionally immature; have a low frustration tolerance; be oppositional or arrogant; seem rude when they question the rules; be emotionally intense; have awkward or poor social skills; be unaware of social cues; have a heightened sense of justice or fairness; or be explosive in their reactions, and; they may even react violently. These are the kinds of behaviors that get our kids into trouble at school and, for White kids, that may result in phone calls home, meetings with school staff, and may signal that it may be time for additional help.
Now take a moment and imagine a Black child engaging in any of these characteristic 2e behaviors at school. How do you think they would be dealt with?
Black children typically do not get treated with the same kind of consideration that their White peers do. We know from research that schools tend to disproportionally discipline black children and their punishments tend to be harsher. We have also seen far too many reports about Black students being unnecessarily handcuffed and arrested at school. And they, along with all children with learning issues, are at greater risk for being funneled into the school-to-prison-pipeline. This is beyond unacceptable and it must stop now. We know that when some of our children are subject to racist practices, all of our children are endangered.
It is critically important for White parents and educators to gain a deeper understanding of the systemic racism that Black Americans, as well as other minorities, live with, and we must become allies, otherwise, we are just a part of the problem. At TECA, our Board and staff are working to understand how we can better serve Black families. This includes: better understanding the pernicious and overt impacts of racism on school children and calling it out when we see it; increasing representations of Black experiences and voices in our newsletter and social media, and; seeking and supporting policies that help address inequities and level the playing field for all children and families.
We encourage non-Black families to do the important work of learning and processing so that they can do the work of deliberately raising anti-racist children. There are lots of resources out there. Rather than asking a Black person for their perspective, we encourage you to do your own research. To help you on your journey, you can check out this list of anti-racism resources.
We look forward to moving forward together to create a world that embraces all kinds of 2e minds.