Over the few weeks, I have received upwards of 100 emails and phone calls requesting my position on a variety of topics. I have responded to each and every one honestly and openly.
We don’t live in a world that is insular and most everything has an impact on education in some way. This is, for instance, why I have taken a firm stand with regard to poverty. The impact that poverty has on children, their education, and their lives is significant.
There are many issues that impact, even tangentially, students and their education.
I have received questions about such topics as abortion, LGBTQ+ issues, the Black Lives Matter movement, school resource officers, child trafficking and various issues involving race, religion, and ethnicity.
In every exchange I have had, the conversation has focused specifically on the role of the Board of Education and how that topic impacts schools and education.
For instance, I received a request for my position on Black Lives Matter (BLM). The conversation then proceeded to discuss how a movement to end police brutality in the Black community impacts on the education system. This conversation evolved into a general conversation on discrimination and racial disparity in our schools. There are a large number of issues that the Black and Brown communities are facing that are equally important, but do not receive the national attention that the BLM movement has.
During that conversation, I shared an experience that I had with an 11-year old black, female student in my class who came to school one morning exhausted. She admitted that she hid under her bed all night because a gang had taken over her apartment building and she was afraid of being sexually assaulted. No one in the building was willing to call the police – not even her own mother, who was desperate to protect her child. Based on the community’s past experiences, they all had a realistic fear that if the police were called there would be gunfire and innocent people may die. And, to make things worse, they felt that the police would not assist the innocent victims of the building takeover, but would instead subject them to dehumanizing and brutal treatment.
I personally believe that black lives matter, and I recognize that there is a disproportionate amount of police aggression and brutality in minority communities. That absolutely needs to end.
But Board of Education members have to address the issues that are within the Board’s purview. That means directly addressing issues including the disproportionate discipline of Black students, racism and discrimination in the classroom and the achievement gap stemming from systemic poverty. The goal of equity in our school systems is vitally necessary to ensure that every child has a chance to achieve their full opportunity.
Please contact me by phone or email if you have any questions, concerns or thoughts. You will get a response from me.