Going off to preschool is a big moment in a child's life, but a new study found that these children may be exposed to racial bias in their preschool classes — through their teachers.
Researchers from the Yale University Child Study Center revealed that teachers are more likely to expect young black children, particularly boys, to misbehave, according to the Washington Post. As part of the study, more than 130 preschool teachers watched video clips of students and were asked to point out signs of "challenging behavior."
However, unbeknownst to the teachers, the children in the clips were actually actors and did not exhibit any difficult behaviors. Equipment that tracked the teachers' gaze found that they spent more time looking at black children — especially black boys — than white children. Lead study author Dr. Walter S. Gilliam told the Washington Post that the findings show that teachers expect problems from black children — and that racial biases are deeply rooted.
"Implicit biases do not begin with black men and police. They begin with black preschoolers and their teachers, if not earlier," Gilliam said. "Implicit bias is like the wind: You can't see it, but you can sure see its effects."
Related: See children caught up in political protests and racial tensions:
Children caught up in race relations, political protests
Children caught up in race relations, political protests
Eight year-old Angelo Estes Jr. calls for the arrest of Officer Betty Shelby, who shot dead unarmed motorist Terence Crutcher, with other protesters outside the Tulsa Police headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S. September 20, 2016. REUTERS/Nick Oxford TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Nyla Joseph, 9, a daughter of a U.S. military veteran demonstrates with veterans outside U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's news conference outside Trump Tower in New York, U.S., May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Malakai McCoy, age 3 years, gets a touch-up from his mother Maybelline McCoy as he and his sister Amayah McCoy hold a sign next to their baby stroller during the 'Our Generation, Our Choice' protest in downtown Washington November 9, 2015. The Monday march to highlight race, climate, and immigration issues was timed to mark exactly one year until the 2016 U.S. presidential election, according to protesters. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2015/11/22: Kids with Tamir Rice signs. Stop Mass Incarcerations Network sponsored a children's march demanding accountability on the one year anniversary of Tamir Rice's death at the hands of the Cleveland police. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2016/01/18: Trio of young protesters with hand-lettered sign. Hundreds of Brooklyn residents gathered in Bay Ridge at the site of an alleged bias attack for a march entitled 'Muslims Our Neighbors' in support of Bay Ridge's Islamic community. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2016/02/20: Asian girls with hand-lettered signs in support of Peter Liang. Dozens of activists associated with Black Lives Matter demonstrated in opposition to a massive rally staged by the coalition against Asian discrimination in support of convicted NYPD officer Peter Liang. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2016/01/15: A child among the demonstrators waives an Oromian flag. Several hundred Ethiopian-American demonstrators from around the U.S. gathered opposite United Nations Headquarters in New York City to express their anger over the recent deaths of over 140 protesters in Ethiopia at the hands of government security forces sent to contain the protests over the Addis Abba 'master plan.'. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2016/07/17: Eric Garner's infant daughter Legacy Garner holds a sign bearing the name of Officer Panataleo. On the second anniversary of the death of Eric Garner during his attempted arrest by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, Black Lives Matter coalition members and supporters gathered at the site of his death on Bay Street and then marched on to the 120th Precinct of the NYPD intermittently practicing civil disobedience as NYPD Community Affairs officers attempted to regulate the march, in Tompkinsville, Staten Island. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2016/02/25: Little protester with elephant sign. Animal care activists gathered in front of Barclay's Center to protest on the opening night of Ringling Brothers' circus against the circus use and treatment of animals in the show. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
DAG HAMMARSKJOLD PLAZA, NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2016/05/01: Members of the metro-area Syrian-American community rally for the ouster of Bashar Al-Assad. An ad hoc collective of Syrian-Americans and supporters from New York and New Jersey held a rally in Dag Hammarskjold Skjold Plaza near United Nations Headquarters in solidarity with similar protests worldwide on May Day to draw attention to as-yet failed attempt to impose a ceasefire in Syria and demand the immediate ouster of the Syrian Arabic Republic's President Bashar Al-Assad. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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The study also had teachers decide whether certain children's behavior warranted suspension. Some teachers were told that the child had a stereotypical black name, such as DeShawn or LaToya, while others were told the child was named Emily or Jake, stereotypical white names. White teachers were found to be more lenient on the children they assumed were black. The researchers said this is likely because white teachers expect black children to misbehave, so they didn't find their behavior to be so out of line.
The researchers recommend that teachers undergo training to confront their racial bias, which many probably don't realize they have.