Nationwide, the conversation on education is increasingly dominated by teacher accountability, charter schools and test scores. While these things are critical, we cannot forget about the numerous hazards that many African-American students face in their communities as they pursue an education. Hazards like violence.
The US Department of Justice estimates that 87 percent of inner-city high school youth have been exposed to violence in school within the last year. This type of persistent exposure to violence contributes to the stress students feel, the grades they earn, and whether they choose to continue with their education. Recently the Schott Foundation reported staggeringly low graduation rates for Black boys. If we are interested in curbing these drop-out rates, we have multiple challenges to tackle. Psychologists at University of Wisconsin–Madison and Brown University found that if school staff and other interventions can raise youth’s feeling of familial and peer support it could nullify the effects of exposure to violence.