“They Don’t Care About You”: Exploring Socioemotional Barriers in School Settings for Black, Trauma-Exposed Boys
Keywords:Education, Qualitative Methods, Race/Ethnicity, African American, Urban Context, Trauma
The study explores how a sample of trauma-exposed, Black boys experience their school environment and socioemotionally navigate barriers in their school setting. A content analysis was completed on focus group data collected from ten Black boys at a high school in an urban setting. Content was reviewed under the constructivist-interpretivist epistemology, using an empowerment theoretical framework. Findings included the following themes: (1) Teachers Change Your Moods—conflictual relationships with teachers negatively impacted their mood; (2) They’ll Switch Up on You in a Half Second—interactions with classmates (e.g., social posturing or physical touch) could also be a barrier to their success; (3) When I’m Having a Bad Moment—descriptions of how they cope with challenging experiences in school; and (4) Tell Me Why This is Useful—instructional and relational suggestions for school staff to improve their learning environment. Implications for school policy and practice are discussed.
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