When you hear about a school bully, you might automatically picture that big-for-his-age fifth grade boy or a teen girl whose manner of dress and speech makes her look and sound a bit rough and tough. All too often, however, school bullies are actually the grown-ups in charge.

The end of Jim Crow was supposed to herald a new era of school integration and do away with the second-class citizens the law had created. Did it? Or, are these kids—mostly low-income, males of color—being targeted by administrators and teachers, who are mostly middle class and white? Could racism be at the heart of the matter?

As a former substitute teacher, I have witnessed both white- and black-on-black discrimination firsthand. Even the students’ parents who meet with administrators about the treatment of their children are often bullied as a means of control.

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