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Racial Profiling Curriculum and Resources

Racial Profiling Curriculum and Resources

With the heightened national attention created by the death of Michael Brown, NEA believes that we must raise awareness and create dialogue about the problem of racial and ethnic profiling nationwide. We believe that this dialogue must happen in our schools and communities, amongst parents, educators, and with our youth.

To help create this dialogue, NEA has joined a curriculum workgroup with the NAACP, Not In Our Town/Not in Our School, Teaching Tolerance/Southern Poverty Law Center, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Human Rights Educators of the USA (HRE-USA) Network, and Facing History and Ourselves. The workgroup has identified and/or developed the materials below to help educators, parents, administrators, and youth address the problem of racial profiling. These material include tips for youth on how to interact during encounters with law enforcement.

NEA has provided teachers and education support professionals with resources to eradicate school discipline disparities, deploy restorative approaches to reduce conflicts in schools, and create a positive school climate in which all students are treated equally. We know this is not easy work, but we also know that dedicated educators, implementing evidence-based practices, can and will end racial profiling in our schools.

What is Racial Profiling?

Racial profiling is the suspicion of people based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, or other immutable characteristics, rather than on evidence-based suspicious behavior. Racial profiling is often paired with potentially negative action. Although racial profiling is often associated with law enforcement policies and practices, it occurs in many different settings. For example, in schools, profiling is evidenced by the disproportionate number of Black and Latino students who are suspended and expelled. Frequently, Muslim students and their families are profiled as “terrorists;” and Spanish-speaking students and their families are profiled as “illegals.”

For details about the targeting of American Indian, Asian, Black, and Hispanic groups, as well as Muslims, specifically by law enforcement, read these case examples compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Each of us can engage in stereotyping and profiling. However, when those with power and/or authority engage in this behavior, there can be devastating consequences—as we saw with the shooting of Michael Brown.

Have you or your students been a target of racial profiling? Take our online survey to share your experiences and help identify ways that educators can help end racial profiling.


Have you or your students been a target of racial profiling?  Take our online survey and share your experience.