school discipline, special education, urban education, anti-blackness, teacher biases, African-American students

Document Type

Article in Response to Controversy


Black boys in schools are often labeled as discipline problems, criminalized and overclassified into special education programs. This article describes the ways in which current practices of labeling and disciplining Black boys have far-reaching impacts on their lives beyond school. It explores the ways Black boys, who are surveilled and criminalized in school, are further victimized when school records are used to characterize them as deviant as a way of justifying violence against them. Drawing upon anti-blackness as a theoretical framework, the author explores the 9-1-1 transcripts in the cases of Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice to clarify the role of surveillance, then explains how school records are implicated in the no-prison phenomenon prevalent in many Black Lives Matter cases. The paper reveals not only the ways in which Black boys remain under the watchful eye of society, policed in their every move, but it also demonstrates acceptance of policing of Black boys’ bodies. The paper offers insight for practitioners and policy makers about the consequences of racialized and gendered labeling violence.