Middle school displays racially insensitive images, teachers

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photo courtesy of Arthur L. Mackey Jr.

Roosevelt Union Free School District in Long Island, New York is facing some intense scrutiny from parents and professionals alike after it came to light that teachers at Roosevelt Middle School included pictures of nooses in a collage, which referred to them as “back to school necklaces.” The hashtags “Yes” and “Ha-ha” were also to be seen on the collage, near the pictures.

In what is being referred to as a “personnel matter,” the district insists it is investigating, but will not comment further on the actions it will take to rectify the problem. Meanwhile, students continue to attend a school where teachers make light of the struggles their ancestors have endured. If we can put racism aside (and really, in a situation like this, how can we?), when is it ever okay to have pictures of nooses in a middle school, especially with the words “ha-ha” anywhere near them?

The truth is, the school and district may never have noticed the college or its offensive material, had it not been for an unnamed teacher bringing it up with pastor Andrew L. Mackey, Jr. of Mount Sinai Baptist Church Cathedral in Roosevelt. He publicized the image and issued a call to action. It’s good to see someone standing up for the children in this school.

The school serves nearly 300 students in grades 6 and 7, almost all of whom identify as minorities. The principal himself is African American. Greatschools reports that test scores in both reading and math fall well below the state average, and the school’s homepage shows student notices are published in both English and Spanish. This is obviously a low performing school whose students may ultimately choose not to attend, if they feel threatened or marginalized.

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“important message” on Roosevelt Middle School’s homepage

A video on the school’s website (linked below) shows a local news station’s recent profile of the school, and the positive sentiments expressed about the school’s future. Perhaps academically it could improve, if given a more positive atmosphere. Still, one needs to laugh, or else they might cry, at hearing the reporter stress that the school focuses also on “social and emotional learning.”

Noose photos labeled ‘back to school necklaces’ by middle school teachers outrage parents

Noose photo displayed in New York classroom draws action from school district

Classroom Collage With Nooses Labeled ‘Back to School Necklaces’ Roils NY District

Roosevelt UFSD – Roosevelt Middle School

Roosevelt Renaissance (video)- CBS News

GreatSchools.Org – Roosevelt Middle School

 

Transgender student locked out of a lockdown drill

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It’s nice to know that in the event of a true emergency, school officials will focus on what really matters: figuring out where to stick the transgender kid.

A transgender girl was allegedly barred from entering both the girls’ and boys’ locker rooms during a lockdown drill at her middle school in Stafford County, Virginia. She says she was forced to sit alone on the bleachers while the remainder of her physical education class took shelter in the locker rooms.

First of all, I didn’t realize that lockdown drills involved removal of clothing or anything else that may take place in locker rooms during normal school time. Wait, they don’t? So what did it matter where this kid went? Pull her into a room, and protect her.

In a place (meaning, public schools) where LGBT issues are typically discussed openly and non-conforming individuals are supported and often encouraged, the fact that things like this are still happening is truly mindboggling. This wasn’t even an issue of “Which bathroom should they use?” This was merely an issue of protecting a child’s life.

The next time you think you’re sending your child off to a place where those entrusted with their well being and safety will actually *care* about their well being and safety, think again. Because maybe next time, it won’t be a drill. Many schools don’t make the distinction between a “practice run” and a real emergency. And maybe next time they’ll deliberate where to put little Jimmy because he’s in the hallway between two classrooms (“You take him!” “No, *you* take him!”), or maybe Susan is throwing up so they moved her to the bathroom but now there’s an active shooter and her teacher hurriedly locks the classroom door, and “Where’s Susan? Oh, I’m sure she’s fine.”

Supposedly this transgender student had a teacher with them, as if this makes things all better. Good luck finding a teacher to be a sitting duck during an actual emergency. There are heroes, but there are also selfish idiots. Do you know which one is in your child’s classroom?

Transgender student barred from shelter in locker rooms during school safety drill

Transgender student allegedly barred from shelter during school safety drill at Virginia middle school