Disproportionate School Brutality Upon Black Children

52 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2023 Last revised: 27 Feb 2024

See all articles by Nicole Tuchinda

Nicole Tuchinda

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

Date Written: September 23, 2023


Similar to the way that Black adults experience disproportionate police brutality, Black children experience multiple times the level of school brutality that White children experience. School brutality is the excessive use of physical force by governmental employees upon K-12 public school students, and it includes assaults, solitary confinement, and inappropriate handcuffing and arrests. Such brutality regularly injures, traumatizes, and kills children. It is a form of systemic discrimination because Black children are not violating school rules more than White children. Such state violence has the additional significance of perpetuating state-sanctioned traumatization and subjugation of Black children, which arose during slavery. Specifically, legalized violence and fear of such violence were the principal tools by which White supremacists subordinated and controlled Black people during slavery and the Jim Crow era. They were also the main tools for delaying desegregation of public schools. Disproportionate school brutality upon Black children thus maintains state-sanctioned, legalized physical maltreatment of Black children and the continued denial of a quality education to them. As a health justice analysis reveals, such state violence continues to harm and oppress the health and educational functioning of Black children today, denying them a fair and just opportunity to be healthy and successful. It is a health injustice and a barrier to social change. Unfortunately, few legal structures exist to stop this racialized trauma. Only when school brutality is abolished for all children will this racialized, systemic trauma and structural racism inflicted by the government end.

Keywords: school discipline, school safety, structural racism, legacy of slavery, school-to-prison pipeline, school brutality, corporal punishment, seclusion, restraint, trauma, Jim Crowe, desegregation, social determinants of health

Suggested Citation

Tuchinda, Nicole, Disproportionate School Brutality Upon Black Children (September 23, 2023). 113 Ky. L.J. 112 (2023) , Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Research Paper 2024-04, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4581314 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4581314

Nicole Tuchinda (Contact Author)

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law ( email )

New Orleans, LA
United States
443-803-4346 (Phone)
1-888-676-8993 (Fax)

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