I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Imagine Being Accused of This?

Updated 9-16-14

District has completed examination of the tape and no definitive answers could be ascertained from the tape.  The parent has been notified, and he intends to come to the school board meeting and speak on this topic.  Staff have invited this parent to view the tape.

Original Story below:

“My son says he didn’t say it, and I believe him!” The parent exclaimed in a voice that exuded concern.
He is a good student, quiet, and he just would not have said that,” the father continued.

He went on to say “I asked them to let me see the tape and they said no.  The school’s administration has totally blown this off—but now my son is being bullied and harassed over this!”

“I want to see the bus tape from the afternoon ride back to ______ ________ Apartments- September 9th.”  That’s when this all started and the tape can show he did not say this” the father pleaded.

The horribly stigmatizing claim being made, by a couple of students riding the same bus as “Will” (name changed), is that he, Will (a Caucasian 6th grader) called a student of a different race a.....

“Monkey --A­­_ ­_ed –N_ _ _ _er!”

“They got up on the bus and made a big deal about it” the dad says.  “They said..’Will just called 

****** a  Monkey --A­­_ ­_ed –N_ _ _ _er! ‘—and everyone on the bus heard it” The dad stated….
Now Will is terrified, the parents are rightfully concerned and the dad does not want this to escalate further.  Can you blame them?

It’s a bit reminiscent of the scene from the 1979 movie, The Warriors, where one gang member (the guilty party)  blames another, rival gang, the Warriors for killing Cyrus (a popular figure among all the gangs). 

“Hey, we didn’t do anything, it was them, IT WAS THE WARRIORS!”  The Warriors did it” and from that point on the lie was repeated over and over and over and the Warriors were hunted down and many of them killed.

But it wasn’t true.  The Warriors did not shoot Cyrus. It was the gang that blamed the Warriors!

Could the same be true here?  I don't know yet.

In this case, here in Pensacola, Will and his family live in an apartment complex where Caucasians are in the minority.  Such a claim is devastating.

"This is bullying by these kids against my son--I want it stopped, and the school is not doing anything about it!” the father said to me in our phone conversation about this incident. “The bus aid did not take my son’s complaint seriously, she said she did not want to hear about it”, he explained.  “Isn’t this a violation of school rules, to bully another student?”  He questioned

The father then went on to describe how this is impacting his son’s school work, as he is stressed out over being attacked by neighborhood kids who believe that “Will” made this racial remark.  He’s afraid to be seen in the complex, go to the pool, or to be out alone.  He feels he will be ganged up on and potentially attacked.

Although that word is used all the time in some communities, in some popular music and videos, in locker rooms, in common conversation,  and with no issue at all apparently---------it immediately becomes a MASSIVE problem if a white person uses this  word; it is stigmatizing, can lead to the end of career, or worse. Context does not even matter, White people cannot use the word, period, no matter what context.  Ask Tom Burlington about that.

 In Will’s case here locally, though, if indeed he did not use this, what I consider to be a disgusting racial slur, but people are saying he did, this could be incredibly problematic and could haunt him for many years to come.

Because the school personnel have attempted to sweep this under the rug, according to the parent, I have requested that the transportation and operations departments view this tape to see what it shows.  I have also asked to personally view this video.

Depending upon what the video shows, I will forward this to the superintendent and ask him why the principal did not follow up on this issue that, if true, is a blatant violation of school board policy.  I’m following up on this one with great interest.

As I concluded my conversation with “Will’s dad, I also told him that if “Will” did use that slur, and the video shows that, this information could become more widely known and could be even more problematic.

The Dad still wants this investigated, and I don’t blame him.

 I mean, just imagine how you would feel if somebody made this sort of allegation about your child?

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