Introduce the Clip: Now let’s look at Monay’s son, Rashon Johnson. Many articles have been written about the fact that boys in general and boys of color in particular are more likely to be singled out for disruptive behavior starting as early as preschool. In the following clip, we hear Rashon’s behavior described as disruptive. We hear that he doesn’t follow directions, talks during class, and picks on or hits other students. Now he has hit a teacher.
First we hear people say how “very smart” Rashon is. Someone adds that his mother works two jobs. Principal Tara King comments on his “regression” and asks what needs to be done differently with Rashon. She says that the school has been working a lot with Rashon and his mother and had recommended outside counseling.
Rashon’s math/science teacher, Pierre Brown said his behavior in class had gradually become worse during the year. He feels that had he not reported Rashon for hitting, a worse incident would have occurred in middle or high school. Rashon’s mother Monay says that she was aware of some behavior incidents, but not all of them. Principal Tara King tells us that the decision was made (on April 28, 2014) to expel Rashon for the remainder of the 2013-2014 school year. She says, “It was a very emotional meeting. Everyone around the table really cares about Rashon.”
• How do you feel about Rashon’s expulsion – does it seem fair?
• To what kinds of risks is Rashon now exposed following his expulsion?
• What can be done to support children who have a difficult path at home and in school, especially boys of color?
• The film doesn’t show any examples of group problem solving with children so they can provide feedback to one another on different behaviors. Would this be helpful to Rashon?
Think about action steps that your community can take to help students like Rashon work on emotional or family issues as well as positive interactions with peers and adults that may help him to improve his school behaviors. How can your school and community leverage 180 Days: Hartsville’s media assets to address or give visibility to this effort?