So, let me get this straight – four elementary school teachers, flashing beaming smiles, pose with a noose and their principal reportedly snaps a photo?
I wonder who thought that was a good idea?
Just how insensitive or uncivil (or ignorant or, dare I say, racist) do you have to be to think that is okay?
And, as if taking the photo wasn’t brazen enough, one of them apparently had the audacity to circulate it online.
What is it that these educators didn’t understand about a noose symbolizing racial terrorism? (or were they fully aware and just didn’t care?).
Some parents, who were outraged and disgusted by the actions of the educators, pulled their children from the school.
The teachers in the photo and the principal have been placed on paid leave.
The superintendent was quoted as saying “I am appalled that this incident occurred … I am committed to the (school district’s) values of equity, integrity, and multiculturalism … We will not allow the hurtful actions of a few hold back our district’s pledge to do right by our community.”
While I commend the superintendent for that fine crisis management statement, I understand that the student body at the elementary school (where the suspended educators work) is about two-thirds black and Latino and that the teaching staff does not reflect the population being served. So, I’m thinking some cultural competency measures need to be put into place, as a way of making good on the district’s commitment to “equity, integrity, and multiculturalism” and the promise “to do right by (the) community.”
For me, this is yet another example of the growing number of reports of hate and bias in schools that mainly target black, Latino, Jewish and Muslim students. It is also evidence of the broader climate of incivility and hatred in our nation.
And it is one of the most recent reasons we cannot continue to ignore (or minimize the size of) the elephant in the room – racism.
It might be uncomfortable for some, who don’t want to acknowledge and come to terms with its ugliness. I say to you: until we can ALL feel unthreatened, welcome, and safe in our daily lives, the conversation about racial equity and equality is not over.
To those who are targets of its ugliness, I say to you: don’t grow weary; hold fast to your hope for better days; and continue to be part of the conversation that keeps us on the path toward racial justice.
As for the noose in the photo, let’s call it what it is: a symbol of a repugnant ideology of human hierarchy that denotes domination of one group of people over the other, namely whites over blacks.
What do you think we should call the educators in the photo?