Insight News

Mar 30th

To the Editor: My thoughts about Special Education and the African American adolescent male.

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If it takes a village to raise a child, then is it feasible to come together as a community to raise our African American males who are in special education? Studies across the county and in Minnesota revealed that there is an overrepresentation of African American males in the special educational system.  Legislation known as NCLB (No Child Left Behind) and IDEIA (Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement) provides resources for the success of youths with disabilities and their families. 

I can’t help think about the “Fourth Grade Failure Syndrome” theory from Juwanza Kunjufu (Countering the conspiracy to destroy Black boys, Vols. 1-4, 1995) because it declared that African American males are diagnosed with EBD (Emotional Behavior Disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) more often than Caucasian children by Caucasian teachers and school psychologists.

We as a village/community must intervene and stop this practice or the African American male will become the “lost boys” as cited by author James Garbario (Lost boys, Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them, 1999). The villages which I speak of contain parents, family members, neighborhoods, churches, community leaders, business leaders, compassionate educators and lawmakers to provide the socialization, spiritual foundation, self-sufficiency and educational foundation for the African American male.

These are very difficult and desperate times for us all, yet the African American males in Special Education need the village/community to show that they have value to themselves and to us as a people. Therefore, no child should be invisible and no child should be given the future of hopelessness.


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