How one man is challenging the over-representation of black students in special education

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Erin Hinrichs Keary Saffold can still remember the way his second-grade teacher made him feel when he wrote “God” instead of “good” on a spelling test and she curtly pointed out his mistake. “It made me feel two inches tall,” he said, adding it’s the sort of interaction that can trigger or fuel an inferiority complex in youth. Reflecting on his elementary years in the Minneapolis Public Schools district, Saffold admits he could be “rambunctious” at times, feeling pressure to assert his masculinity while among his peers. But the reason he still thinks back to that particular moment in second grade is because it exemplifies the strained relationship he had with his teacher — the very teacher who approached his parents, suggesting...

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