It’s a 4th Grade math class. S is somewhat moody, alternating between a kind of sullenness and goofiness. S sometimes refuses to do work that disinterests him. For a while he would take a globe from the front of the room and clutch it at the beginning of class. He likes drawing pictures on the board while the teacher isn’t looking.
While students are working independently, S rises from his chair. He goes to throw something out at the back of the room. He passes by C — the only black student in the classroom — and starts rubbing C’s hair. C tells him to get off, but S doesn’t.
The teacher, publicly, tells S to get off of C’s hair. You don’t touch people’s hair, ever, unless they ask you to.
Later, the teacher wonders if he should have said something more. In fact, he feels strongly that he should have said more. But what to say? S is not white. The teacher is. The vast majority of students in this (entirely made-up fictional) school are wealthy and white.
He doesn’t know what to say. Even more, he doesn’t even know how to ask the question.
What do you say?