Top Ten Videos to watch

Spider Crash
Eric Garner Protests
Justice for Tamir sign held aloft. Stop Mass Incarcerations...
Kym Whitley
Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show
Donald Trump's 'Crippled America' Book Press Conference
US-CRIME-RACE-SHOOTING-PROTEST
New Hampshire Primaries
TV One At The 47th NAACP Image Awards
Donald Trump Holds Rally In Biloxi, Mississippi
Behind bars
47th NAACP Image Awards Presented By TV One - Press Room
A Man Operating A Tv Camera
Maurice White
March2Justice
'News One Now' With Roland Martin Taping
Bill Cosby
Activists In Los Angeles Gather To Burn Likenesses Of The Confederate Flag
Flint Firebirds V Windsor Spitfires
CBC Message To America: Rep. Conyers Addresses The Damage Inflicted On Our Communities By Poverty, Mass Incarceration And Lack Of Economic Development
Iowa Caucus Ted Cruz
NewsOne Now NAACP Image Awards Preview
Student sitting at a desk in a classroom
Rahm Emanuel Announces Police Accountability Task Force As CPD Chief Is Fired
Slavery Stock image
The 16th Annual Wall Street Project Gala Fundraising Reception
Ava DuVernay
Roland Martin Blasts Stacey Dash For Comments About BET, Black Networks
President Obama Delivers State Of The Union Address At U.S. Capitol
Leave a comment

First grade teacher Jennifer O’Brien of Paterson, N.J. made headlines last week back after referring to her class of mostly Black and Latino kids as “future criminals.” In a status update on her Facebook page O’Brien wrote, “I’m not a teacher – I’m a warden for future criminals,” according to NorthJersey.com. Six hours later she continued, “They had a scared straight program in school—why couldn’t I bring 1st graders?” referring to a school event where sixth graders talked to prison inmates about the consequences of crime.

O’Brien is currently awaiting the school board’s decision on whether or not she will be allowed to keep her job.

O’Brien’s sentiments are not shocking, nor are they uncommon. She just happened to make a bad judgment call in vocalizing her opinion on a social networking site.

As someone who has substitute taught in a 60 percent Latino, 40 percent Black school district, I understand the frustrations of teachers. Students as early as sixth grade can be unruly, rude, uninterested, use foul language, etc. And some teachers are clueless as to how to deal with students whose culture and background is unlike their own. But as frustrated as I’ve been on days where I did more disciplining than actual teaching, my god, I’ve never once thought those children were “future criminals.” Never. What chance do Black and brown students have if by the first grade their teachers already think so poorly of them? It’s one thing to express frustrations of having an overly active or rowdy class. It’s quite another to use the terminology “future criminals.” It’s bad enough the U.S. government builds prisons based on the reading scores of fourth graders. But the teacher responsible for teaching these same students is criminalizing six and seven-year-old kids. O’Brien has to go. Her beliefs are far too dangerous for the classroom where she has already determined her students are destined for failure.

Rev. Kenneth Clayton, the president of the local branch of the NAACP who was called to testify, called O’Brien’s comments stupid and said they “help us realize again that racism has not been erased from our country.”

“I know that children can be testy and tedious and all those things, but to say in first grade there that you’re a warden for them, that’s reprehensible … if a teacher or any adult leader could look at children like that in the first grade and think that, then the children are doomed,” Clayton went on to say.

Read the full story on Colorlines.

RELATED:

Check out more stories on The Education Zone

Also On News One: