Reflecting on a Difficult School Year
Looking back on this past school year
This school year has probably been the toughest teaching year for me! Shortly after I was hired into the district I once loved, a video came out of the principle saying the "N" word. Having conversations with students regarding that specific video, I was informed that this was not the first time she had either refer to "US" as the "N" word and has made other racist remarks.
Initially, I was lost of words and didn't quite know what to do nor what to say to these students that shared their "TRUTH" with me. As time went by, the incident became more and more frustrating for me and I'm sure for the African American students as well.
There had been so many cases of whites referring to African American students as the "N" word this school year. In most cases, I feel the district took the incidents very seriously and they took action right away. Take for instant, the incident that happened at Highland Park earlier this year, when the district got a hold of the video. The teacher was on a paid leave for them to investigate the incident. A few days later, that teacher was let go. Now, had that happened at the district I was working at, you won't have a specific group upset and angry.
Racial slurs should not be used in a professional setting and it is absolutely prohibited to whites.
Now, let's talk about how I feel things were handled with the district I worked for. Soon after the video went viral, the principle apologized through the intercom at the end of the school day (the apology to me was a joke, I couldn't believe that she thought that was the proper way to apologize to the staff and the student body).
I am sure we were all hoping that the principal won't be at school for a few days while the district investigate.That wasn't the case! She was still at school each and everyday acting like what seemed to me like she didn't care about the video. Don't get me wrong, I know we are all supposed to put on a brave and happy face through times like these. But I felt like the district failed to do a proper investigation on the incident.
Some may say that the principal didn't directly called the African American students the "N" word. To me, it doesn't matter what context you use the "N" word. YOU SHOULDN'T SAY IT AT ALL!
Because of the poor investigation by the district office, that led many caucasians calling African American students the "N" word. Others were even painting their hands black and making jokes about the fact that they were now black, they can say the "N" word. There was also a sign above the water fountain at school that stated "Whites Only". I also had a number of students that referred to me as the "N" word and I felt like the administrators didn't handle those incidences well! The lack of support from high up, lack of communication to the staff and parents and the lack of transparency definitely led to a huge staff turnover.This district has taught me that THEY WERE NEVER READY FOR DIVERSITY MANY YEARS AGO AND THEY ARE STILL NOT READY! I also learned that education is not ready for Africans, nor African Americans teachers. I believe many African Americans are hired at most districts to publicize the fact that they are "diverse". I was reading an article when I came across this "Federal data suggests that in 2012-13, nearly 22 percent of black public-school teachers moved schools or left the profession altogether, compared to only about 15 percent of white, non-Hispanic teachers." I believe students benefit more when they are surrounded with teachers and staff from different background. Background that represents them, where they are from etc.... it is also known to be less bias when we have diverse staff members.
Today is June 18 and as of now, as a "Black, African American, African, Colored teacher or whatever you refer me as". I am still waiting for a proper and more sincere apology from the principal for saying such word that once brought/still brings harm to our community and the former superintended for poorly investigating the incident and not taking such racist remarks seriously. Remember this was not the first incident the principal had refer to African American students as the "N" word.
It was very difficult writing this, at one point I got very emotional and I don't think I can share with you right now the emotional damage this past school year has had on my life and how it changed my views about certain things. At one point, I started questioning why God made some of us brown. More so, if being brown is not good enough... I thought about my kids going through such racist events the students had to go through this school year and it broke my heart. That is why I am choosing to speak up about racism.
At this time, I am looking at different career options.
As time goes by, I hope I can share how this incident effected me personally.