Researchers from American University and the University of California – Davis have found that black students are less likely to be disciplined in school when they have black teachers. This was especially the case with black boys, who are disproportionately punished more than their white counterparts, according to the Huffington Post.
According to the study, 16 percent of black boys were disciplined when white women were their teachers. Compared to only 14 percent by black female teachers and even less by black male teachers.
“This effect is driven almost entirely by black students, especially black boys, who are markedly less likely to be subjected to exclusionary discipline when taught by black teachers,” says the study. “There is little evidence of any benefit for white students of being matched with white teachers.”
On the contrary, a teacher’s race played little to no role in the disciplinary action taken against white students, showing that the bias for punishment against black students may reach across racial lines.
“It could be something that black teachers do that’s just different when it comes to classroom control,” said co-author Constance Lindsay. “Maybe in different contexts, behavior is treated differently. Maybe black students act differently with black teachers. And it could be implicit bias white teachers have.”
Despite these statistics, teachers of color tend to have higher turnover rates and work in schools with fewer resources at their disposal. Unfortunately, this may have a negative effect on students who are more likely treated as problems.