I must confess that being a mother of an African American young man — specifically, a 12-year-old Black boy with a disability — I am gravely concerned with the disparities in discipline practices that children with disabilities, particularly children of color with disabilities, experience. This breaks my heart and simultaneously makes me very angry.
Discipline Discussions: Informal Removals Matter
When my cell phone rings in the middle of the day and I see my son’s school is calling, I immediately have a moment of unease: did Matthew get hurt, is he sick, what happened that warrants this call in the middle of the day? Matthew is a sixth grader with Down syndrome, but I know these feelings are shared by parents of children with and without disabilities alike.
I count myself lucky that with each of these calls I am relieved to hear about situations that, while important enough to call, are typically intended to share information about my son’s day or report on a minor issue. I am thankful that the school staff overcommunicate and keep us informed, as well as share potential solutions if a problem arises. In short, they are proactive, so after a brief chat with school personnel, I resume my day.