Preventing Violence in Schools
Through the Production of Docile Bodies
Footnotes and References
by Pedro Noguera, Ph.D.
1. Several educational organizations have designated violence prevention their highest priority. For example, the Association of California School Administrators made efforts to reduce violence in school their top priority for the 1993-'94 school year. For a discussion of national education priorities since 1980 see The Great School Debate edited by Beatrice and Ronald Gross (New York: Touchstone Book, 1985)
2. Evidence that there has been an escalation in the number of violent incidents occurring within schools is provided in an analysis of trends by Jackson Toby in "Everyday School Violence: How Disorder Fuels It" in American Educator, Winter 1993/94.
3. Numerous bills for curtailing violent crimes are presently under consideration at the Senate and House of Representatives. For a critical discussion of the Clinton administration's crime bill see "What's Wrong With the Crime Bill" by Elliott Currie in The Nation, January 31, 1994.
4. In New York City over 28 million dollars was spent on metal detectors during the 1980s. See "Disarming Youth" by Pat Kemper in California School Boards Journal, Fall 1993.
5. Ibid p. 27.
6. Foster hypothesizes that Black males are suspended and expelled more often because they exhibit certain "cool" behaviors which teachers and administrators perceive as rude, arrogant, intimidating sexually provocative and threatening. See Foster, H. Ribbin' Jivin' and Playin' the Dozens: The Unrecognized Dilemma of Innercity Schools (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger Publishing Co., 1974).
7. For a discussion on the success of mentoring in addressing the needs of "at-risk" students, see "Using Community Adults as Advocates or Mentors for At-Risk Middle School Students: A Two Year Evaluation of Project RAISE" by James McPartland and Saundra Murray Nettles in American Journal of Education, August 1991.
8. For a discussion on how to address violence through the curriculum see "Fostering Self-Discipline" by Tim Duax in Rethinking Schools, March/April 1990, Vol. 4, No. 3.
9. For a discussion of this approach and others being utilized by urban school districts to improve the delivery of social services to students and their families see Improving Inner-City Schools: Current Directions in Urban District Reform by Jeannie Oakes, October 1987 (Center for Policy Research in Education Joint Note Series).
10. For a critical discussion on the inadequacy of traditional anti-crime measures in curtailing crime and delinquency among Black male youth see "Delinquency Among Black Male Youth" by Richard Dembo in Young, Black and Male in America an Endangered Species edited by Jewell Taylor Gibbs (New York: Auburn House, 1988).
11. For example, in the city of Oakland, CA during 1992 the number of violent crimes committed by juveniles on school property was substantially less than the number of violent crimes committed in other parts of the city. Source "Oakland Police Department Report on Crime in the City of Oakland", 1992.
13. During a recent visit to an urban high school, I commented to a school administrator that I was impressed by the lack of graffiti on school walls. The administrator, laughed and told me that "this is a lock down facility. They can't even get out of their classrooms while class is in session without being picked up. We run this place like San Quinten".
14. Such an approach has been advocated in a number of newspaper editorials (see for example the Oakland Tribune, November 21, l991, and the San Francisco Chronicle November 21, 1991) and in several school districts. See "Jail Threat Effective in Truancy Program", in the L.A. Times, January 9, 1994.
15. Statistics frequently cited as evidence of the problem include: the number of students who report bringing weapons to school (13%), the number of teachers (one in ten) and students (one in four) who report that they have been victims of violence at school (Associated Press report on a Metropolitan Life Survey sponsored by the American Teacher, December 17, 1993); and the perception of students, teachers and administrators regarding the degree to which violence is a problem. SeeViolent Schools-Safe Schools, (Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Education, 1978).
16. In Richmond California, although the school district was still in the process of repaying a 30 million dollar loan to the state after declaring bankruptcy in 1989, it set aside $50,000.00 in 1993 to pay for the installation of metal detectors. One teacher remarked: "They spending money on this and we still need paper in our classrooms." In defense of the expenditure, a school administer responded, "The overall program of the district is to provide a safe environment regardless of the cost. It's something we have to do." West Contra Costa Times, December 8, 1993.
18. Ibid p.l5.
19. The progressive intentions of educators and social reformers is documented by Lawrence Cremin in American Education, the Metropolitan Experience 1876-1980 (N.Y.: Harper and Row, 1988) p. 164-179.
20. The observer was Eward Joseph Rice, a pediatrician who visited thirty six schools in 1892 to prepare a series of articles on the condition of urban schools. Focusing again on the body, Rice observed one teacher scold her students by asking:"How can you learn anything with your knees and toes out of order?" From The Public School System of the United States (New York: Century Press, 1 893) p. 98.
21. J. Oakes Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985) p. 32,33.
22. Educational historians have tended to focus on trends influencing the character and direction of schools, moreso than on conditions within schools. Still, prior to the 1 960s, problems with control of student behavior received relatively little attention. In fact, most observers of schools during the 1930s and '40s, were more likely to support the observation of Alfred Kazin who wrote "All teachers were to be respected like gods, and God Himself was the greatest of all school superintendents". A Walk in the City (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1951 ) p. 8-21.
23. For a discussion of how changes brought about by migration and immigration changed the character of eastern cities see Moynihan, D. and Glazer, N. Beyond The Melting Pot (Cambridge: Joint Center for Urban Studies,1963) p. vii-lxxi.
24. The factors leading to the deterioration of urban areas is well described by William Julius Wilson in The Truly Disadvantaged (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987)
25. Describing the loss of school control as a "crisis in authority", Mary Haywood Metz analyzes how tow school districts attempted to respond to this situation in Classrooms and Corridors (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978).
26. In response to the rise in attacks on teachers, the American Federation of Teachers has developed a victim support program. For a discussion of the program and the problems responsible for its creation, see "Caught in the Crossfire" in American Teacher October 1992, Vol. 77, No.2.
27. During the hearing the father mentioned that he had recently lost his job and that the financial problems created by his unemployment had added to the problems he was having with his wife.
28. In describing how power-knowledge relations constrain the ability of those designated to exercise authority to use their own judgement, Foucault writes:"...power-knowledge relations are to be analyzed not on the basis of a subject of knowledge who is or is not free in relation to the power system, but, on the contrary the subject who knows, the objects to be known and the modalities of knowledge must be regarded as so many effects of these fundamental implications of power-knowledge and their historical transformations." Form Discipline and Punish (New York: Vintage Books, 1 979) p. 27, 28 &29. A national study carried out by the Office of Civil Rights reports that Black students are 74-86% more likely than whites to receive corporal punishment; 54-88% more likely to be suspended; and 3-8 times as likely to be expelled. See Race, Class and Education: The Politics of Second Generation Discrimination by Meier, K., Stewart, J. and England, R. (Madison, Wi: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989) p.84-86.
30. AB2140 was proposed by Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, in 1991 to insure that the removal of students from school was viewed as a last resort and "not to eliminate from the classroom students who are difficult to teach". See Oakland Tribune, November 27, 1991.
31. Black parents and community members in Cincinnati also worked to defeat the approval of a school facilities bond measure that would have raised 348 million dollars to finance repairs to deteriorating schools because of their anger over the treatment of Black students. See Education Week, Volume XIII, No. 17, January 19, 1994.
32. According to a study conducted at Xavier University and cited by the N.Y. Times, 54% of the 294 suburban schools, and 43% of the 344 small town schools in a study on school violence reported an increase in the number of violent incidents. See N. Y. Times, April 21, 1993.
33. For a discussion of how Black criminality has become central to public discourse about violence and crime see Black-on-Black Violence by Amos Wilson (New York: Afrikan World Inforsystems, 1990) p. 1-34 Also see Cool Pose by Richard Majors and Janet Billson(New York: Touchtone, 1992) p. 33-35 for a discussion on perceptions of Black male violence.
34. This argument is made by Jackson Toby in "Everyday School Violence: How Disorder Fuels It" and by Daniel Patrick Moynihan in "Defining Deviancy Down". Both articles appear in the American Educator, Winter 1993/1994.
35. Meier, K. et.al. p. 81-84.
36. Ibid p. 89.
37. For a discussion on the various forms of multicultural education and the discourses associated with it see Empowerment Through Multicultural Education by Christine Sleeter (Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1991 ) p. 1-23.
38. Border crossing is a phrase coined by Henry Giroux to describe the personal transformation experienced by teachers and students engaged in critical discourse and pedagogy. He writes: "Critical educators take up culture as a vital source for developing a politics of identity, community and pedagogy. Culture is not monolithic or unchanging, but as a site of multiple and heterogeneous borders where different histories, languages, experiences, and voices intermingle amidst diverse relations of power and privilege. Within this pedagogical borderland known as school, subordinate cultures push against and permeate the alleged unproblematic and homogeneous borders of the dominant cultural forms and practices...radical educators must provide conditions for students to speak so that their narratives can be affirmed." In Border Crossings (N.Y.: Routledge, 1992) p. l69.
39. These interviews were part of a survey that I conducted with 125 students at an urban continuation high school in northern California in 1990-'91.
40. The term moral authority was used by Durkheim in reference to the rise of rationalism in modern societies and the subsequent need for "rational morality" as a substitute for religious authority and order. While Durkheim saw the trend toward increasing individualism as irreversible, he believed that society would have to impose a new set of constraints upon individuals to prevent anomie. See Sociology and Philosophy by Emile Durkheim (London, 1965) p. 72
41. Several exceptionally good high schools are described and analyzed in detail by Sara Lawrence Lightfoot in The Good High School (N.Y.: Basic Books, 1983).
43. Continuation high schools are set up for students who have either been forced or who have volunteered to leave a regular high school. Many students at continuation schools have a record of poor attendance and/or poor behavior in school. Additionally, several students are often required to attend continuation school as a condition of juvenile probation.
44. Efforts to close a campus for security reasons have often met resistance from students. In Richmond, Ca, the district's attempt to close high school campuses at lunch time led to protests and walkouts from school. See West Contra Costa Times October 17, 1993.
45. In describing the production of docile bodies in prisons, the military and other "disciplinary institutions", Foucault refers to discipline as producing "an aptitude, a capacity which reverses the course of energy and turns it into a relation of strict subjection". See Discipline and Punish p. 138.
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|Published in In Motion Magazine January 12, 1997. © 1997
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