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New study by Yale University suggests racial bias could be seen as early as preschool

Posted at 5:29 PM, Sep 28, 2016

Kendall Williams starts preschool in just weeks, but his dad's excitement for his son's next milestone is now dimmed.

"It's very troubling and why I think parents should be more involved and do your research into what preschools your children want to go," said Arthur Williams.

Williams is reacting to a new study out of Yale University.

The study was done at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services. The study suggests racism starts as early as pre-school and that black children are three times times more likely to get in trouble over their white classmates.

Yale child psychology professor Walter S. Gilliam said, "Implicit biases do not begin with black men and police. They begin with black preschoolers and their teachers, if not earlier."

Tampa Psychologist Dr. Stacey Scheckner is concerned on the message this study could send.

"I think it is wrong that we spread this type of information because people who are already maybe racist or reverse racist are going to grab hold of anything that they can find without really looking at the empirical research," said Dr. Scheckner.

Dr. Scheckner has published numerous research documents of her own. The doctor feels the government has not collected enough data.

"We are talking about one study. Did the government say OK I want 17 studies? And then let's gather all the research and look at why is it only one study?" said Dr. Scheckner.

Dr. Scheckner also questions how the research was done.

Yale researchers took a unique approach. They gathered 130 child actors and then had actual preschool teachers observe them.

They then tracked the teachers gazes using sophisticated technology.

They said while none of the video showed the kids misbehaving, they found teachers spent more time looking at black students over white classmates, most of them little boys. The doctor feels the public deserves more information.

"I mean how old are the teachers Are they 21-year-old teachers or the 45-year-old teachers? Where did they grow up? What did their parents teach them?" questioned Dr. Scheckner.

The study also found that black teachers were harder on black students. And while researchers did not study this data they speculate it's to prepare them for the future.

Williams said it was how his teachers approached his education.

"I grew up in the 90's and my black teachers were harder on me than the white teachers because they wanted me to succeed. They knew it would be harder on me because of my skin color. I accepted it and it made me a better person, the one I am today," said Willams.

The study recommends more training and more understanding from teachers. It is what Williams would like to see.

"I do think they need more training. I think they need more evaluations, more hands, people need to be more aware," said Williams.

Dr. Scheckner just hopes there's follow through from the study.

"If we really want to solve a problem, let's solve the problem and not create more problems,"  said Dr. Scheckner.