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Council member: Troy has a problem

Published 11:00pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Troy, Alabama we have a problem. As a matter of fact, we have quite a few problems. I am highly interested in the problems in our “so-called” non failing public schools. The problems must be addressed for the betterment of our children as well as our community as a whole. My family are products of the Troy City Schools along with most of my associates. However, my young granddaughter will not be.

The current student population in the Troy City School system is mostly African Americans sometimes referred to as being mostly black and brown (Hispanic) especially at the elementary level. Yes, I’m writing this just as you are reading this. These black and brown students participate in classrooms of mostly caucasian (white) female teachers. Some of these teachers have never been in the low income areas, projects or public housing, unless maybe forced to under certain circumstances, and they don’t intend to go. Some of them are openly against and really do not like black males, and are disrespectful to most people of color, like me. How do I know? I lived and breathed this racist environment for many years at Troy Elementary School. I was allowed to teach an all black and brown classroom of students, but the white parents didn’t make many requests for me so that affected the numbers.

I’m told that all parents are provided the opportunity to request a particular teacher for their specific child and/or children. All parents may also request that certain students be placed with their buddies in the same classrooms. Some claim these practices take place in a lot of places. The places (school systems) nearby don’t participate in these type practices because they want an effective, fair school system. Besides, what kind of message are you sending to the teachers? You are good enough to teach little black Jamari, but not enough to teach little qhite Gracie Mary along with all the other students!

Our great local university boasts of being international, yet we lack diversity in the classrooms in the Troy City schools. Why are all students not getting the chance to learn in a racial, cultural and socio-economically diverse classroom in Troy, Alabama? The black and brown students at Troy Elementary School are targeted for all black and brown classrooms. If an African-American teacher happens to be on a particular grade level she usually gets these students. Not only are classes all black and brown, some are serious behavioral issues. Yes, some students and parents have serious behavioral issues. I believe it’s not really their fault. Some seem to think behavior issues are a black and brown thing. Not!

It’s very unfortunate that we still live in such a Rush Limbaugh mentality, anti- President Obama society in this City and State of Alabama that we refuse to let racism go. Maybe a little time should be spent observing the attitudes and actions some of our young people take when we try to keep our races separate. Furthermore, I never encouraged my son to date anyone that didn’t look like me while at CHHS. Since I grew up in segregated Pike County, Alabama during a period of history that will always have an imprint in my mind. Yet, I strive more often than not to clinch the God given differences we all possess. Perhaps it’s hard to believe after reading this, but I have had some good White friends.

We should stop allowing any parent to request teachers at Troy Elementary School since you say “All teachers can teach and all students can learn.” We should hire and keep as many African-American teachers that apply and a classroom is available to put them in. White students need African-American teachers as well as black and brown students. Several local African American teachers are teaching in other school systems outside Troy (Pike County), Alabama because they couldn’t get a teaching job at home. Why? Because a position had to be kept open for someone coming in with the University. Why are there three (3) pre-k positions and not one African-American teacher? My granddaughter will have more diversity being home schooled. Why do you have almost ten (10) kindergarten classroom teachers, only two African-American teachers and one of them usually has an all black and brown class? This particular scene is played throughout a student’s experience at the elementary school. We should want our students racially, culturally and socio-economically diverse, since we have an “international” University in our wonderful place to live.

I take my role and responsibilities as an elected public servant to heart. The time is now to address these issues and do something about them beyond just a few words. My goal is to help lead the charge to help rid our society of the negative racist attitude too often found at the coffee club meetings, private clubs and/or the golf course. Let’s work closer together to teach all our children to live as well as embrace our differences.

Right now, sadly in 2013 Troy, Alabama is only a wonderful place for most white people to live, not most of the black and brown residents. Troy, Alabama we have a problem!

Dejerilyn King Henderson

Troy City Council, District 5

 

  • Aborted

    Ms. Henderson, thank you for standing up and sounding off. Illegal and racially discriminative employment practices are happening because we continue to allow such practices. My philosophy is that “folks treat you the way you let them treat you”. Many of those white teachers don’t care to educate our children; they merely want the money and benefits, but there are some white teachers that have the love and fear of God in them thus they do the right things. They are not all racist. I urge you to see how many folks of color actually apply for teaching jobs in Troy. Additionally, Parents need to sound off and take responsibility of the educating of their children. Parents need to demand that Dr. Bazzell do better in this aspect. File a complaint or something-don’t’ just talk about it. I personally think that African American children would be better educated and disciplined, if they were taught by majority AA teachers. I don’t understand how all (most) the white kids in Troy can afford to go to Pike Liberal. Somebody, explain that one. The African American community needs more leadership not the usual annual hand outs. We need more Dr. Martin L. Kings, Reverend Farrakhan’s, Medgar Evers or simply another Oliver Brown to fight the Board of Education. We need more African American leadership in Pike County evidently. Some folks can’t stand on their own two feet.
    Look at the Troy Messenger; Look at TSU and its faculty; Look at all the professional organization in Pike County. How many people of color has these companies hired? Is this the white man’s fault or is this the apathetical behavior of the people of color? Remember, “Life is not changed by a remote control, we must get up and change it” – Tyler Perry.

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    • Observer

      . I don’t understand how all (most) the white kids in Troy can afford to go to Pike Liberal. Somebody, explain that one.

      Not all, not most, not even many Caucasians in Troy attend Pike Lib. The private school claims an enrollment of 500 in grades K-12, roughly the same number of students CHHS has in 9-12.

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  • Pauly D

    Preach it!! TES is the most segregated public school in Alabama. I don’t agree with everything she states, but she hit the nail on the head with this editorial. There are white teachers at TES that haven’t had more than 5 minority children in their classrooms in the past 2 years because the local politicians and their friends raise heck until they get their kids in the white class. It’s plas w/out the tuition for some families.

    She should send her granddaughter to plas. It’s segregated but at least kids graduate.

    I do wonder what the council did to her to make her change her tune on the smoking issue. That ban is obvioulsy racially driven.

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  • lhcg33

    I think you are having a hard time letting racism go Council member…by you stating “racist attitude too often found at the coffee club meetings, private clubs and/or the golf course” IMO that is setting a spark for racism, like you are trying to get black/brown people upset. Maybe that’s what you’re trying to do? And I can’t believe you saying that parents with behavioral problems shouldn’t be blamed b/c it’s not their fault, so who’s fault is it?
    If you are grown enough to have a child then you are grown enough to act like a grown up. And the children that see their moms/dads acting like idiots grow up thinking it’s ok to act like one. Yes, Troy has a problem – People have forgot about God, people keep getting hand outs which have made them lazy, people have no pride, people have no morals. We as a whole are being judged. White people AND black/brown people need to let go of racism.

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    • Aborted

      Careful now, do your research. It seems you are implying that poor folks and AA’s are the only ones getting handouts. Alabama’s farmers just got a real big handout. AA’s make up less than 14% of the U.S thus we are ultimately receiving much less welfare than you might think. However, I do agree that some programs (Section Eight Housing and Low Income Housing) have made too many folks lazy and dependent. I also agree that some AA’s need to instill more self pride in their communities and families. We need to be more diligent in our neighborhoods and the schools that our children attend. We fought hard against Jim Crow and somewhat won, but those leaders are dead. New leaders must step up to the plate-I’m trying. We need to teach our children about the struggles of the south hence why we are still lagging behind. It has only been 50 years ago that George Wallace stood in the door to stop desegregation. This era is known as the Civil Rights era.
      Morals-yes, all races could improve. Some folks have advocated and voted to throw Jesus out of schools, their homes, and everywhere else thinkable thus we all are having turbulent times. Some of the good will perish with the bad unfortunately.

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  • Fountain loves AISA

    Until Hicks the schools were run by an african amercian woman. Why didnt she address any of these issues??

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  • Aborted

    I don’t think the council woman is trying to start a riot, and she would be negligent in her duties, if she did not inform the African American community of such issues. She was elected by the folks she represents. Furthermore, nepotism is illegal, but black folks as well as whites have to “stand their grounds” to ensure these types of practices are discontinued. Black folks need to be more proactive in the matters that concern them and their children. The schools are funded by the state and federal government not the citizens. The students are majority African American thus AA parents need to demand more and be more involved. There are other schools. No students equals no school.
    Some things I don’t support regardless of who wants them. I do not support the sale of alcohol and dope pipes; especially, in predominately AA communities. Smokers can get off their cans and go outside to smoke. The big issue with smoking in public facilities is that it violates the rights of none smokers who need employment. It is not that big of a deal-really. The Surgeon General told us decades ago that cigarettes cause cancer and some donkeys still want to smoke.

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  • Fountain loves AISA

    Blood I like what your saying, but the stae and federal governments dont make money. Any money they have is from taxes the citizens pay, so the citizens do fund the schools.

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  • theHammer

    It’s no wonder our political system is in such bad state when elected
    Officials waste time writing such racist garbage.How you can take something as innocent as requesting a certain teacher and turning into some kind of discrimination is racist in itself.

    There are various reasons someone request a certain teacher. Maybe a parent know the teacher and shares similar beliefs. Maybe the parent is trying to separate there child from a trouble maker or someone there known to perform poorly around. Heck I didn’t want old Miss XXXXX cause she gave out too much weekend homework.Icould go on and on but I think you get the point.

    What this really looks like is your granddaughter didn’t get the teacher she or you wanted her to have. I don’t see you using your office to head up some kind of movement. I just see a bitter black woman using her position to start some race war at troy schools in the name of diversity. I don’t know if your just this racist,or maybe your a little saddened by Juan leaving. I’m sure aloof people will miss him,including law enforcement.

    The fact that this garbage was even printed means the messenger is hard up to fill space or hoping it will help circulation. Maybe in the future you could print someone’s opinion that might be helpful or atleast spark a good debate,this was only harmful to the community.

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  • heymonnoproblem

    It seems that this “former” Troy City Schools (Troy Elementary School) teacher who is NOW on the City Council, would start with a meeting with school officials to see how any perceived problem could be corrected. This poorly written letter to the Editor is also a great indicator as to why parents and many of her constituents would refuse to “REQUEST” her to teach their children. And, it is also intended to “casue a stir” and not solve a perceived problem

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  • gottaloveit

    AMEN to Heymonnoproblem! It appears that she is doing what she does best by causing a stir. It’s a shame that she isn’t using her leadership role in a beneficial manner. http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h-2139. Based on her pitifully written article it is apparent that she harbors resentment and racism towards white people. What does being in “low income areas, projects or public housing” have to do with someone’s ability to teach? This is a reflection of the obvious bitterness that she holds against people that didn’t grow up poor or black. She’s a joke and does she really think that people didn’t request her as a teacher because of her color???

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  • southeastbama

    I don’t think I have ever read an article as poorly written as this one. It is not only poorly written in terms of grammar, it is poorly written in terms of logic and reason. It seems to have been written by someone who was unable to express their thoughts in connecting sentences that make sense.

    It is obvious that Ms. Henderson is a ranting racist. The scary part is that this racist spent years educating our children. I can’t even imagine how any young minds she corrupted with her hateful racist vitriole. She is a disgrace to the District 5 voters who elected her. The sad part is that she will probably be re-elected multiple times in spite of her racist attitude. I have lost whatever respect I may have had for Ms. Henderson. (Shame on The Messenger for even publishing this letter. Had it been a racial tirade written by a white racist it would have never seen print.)

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  • sunshine02

    @BLOOD: I can certainly explain things to you in regards to Pike Liberal Arts’ policies. First, there are no discrimination policies at Pike Liberal Arts, feel free to check their website if you desire, everything is right there plain as day. Second, there are and have been plenty of students, the “white kids” as you stated, whose families do without plenty of stuff simply to send them to school there. So before you say that everyone who attends school there or has attended school there before, maybe you should take into account what a family sacrificed to make that decision. Perhaps their kid didn’t get brand name clothes, a new cell, etc. because their parents thought it best to attend school there for whatever reason. Third, there have also been plenty of families of all races that have attended public school when their family could have “afforded” to pay for their school at a private institution. It shouldn’t matter where a family sends their children to school or the reasons that they send their children to said place. Fourth, ANY child can attend school there, GRANTED they can pay the tuition charge. The problem is that too many people seek the handouts and wait for someone else to pay for everything so they don’t have to do so. With that said, I completely agree that people need to “take responsibility” in educating their children. I’ll also agree with you that some people can’t stand on their own two feet. However, too many people abuse the system and seek a handout before even attempting to stand on their own. I think you bring up many valid points in your first comment, however mentioning Pike Liberal Arts in the way you did has zero creditability.

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  • OldSchoolPike3Worker

    What’s wrong with a Rush Limbaugh mentality, anti- President Obama society?

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  • CHHS1988

    Ms. Henderson who started the program in which you speak of being racially motivated? Did you really write this “rant” without researching such a critical point in your argument? Dr. Linda Felton, former superintendent of TCS, who also happens to be a very well educated African American woman, walked this policy through the Board of Education herself. Ms. Henderson I am in the projects quite a bit spending time with kids…kids you taught…and some of the stories they tell about how you treated them is really bad, so bad that some of them have class participation problems to this day as a result of how you treated them in the 1st grade for Christ sake. You are lucky not to be in jail. As far as you making visits to the projects…if driving through at a high rate of speed with your nose turned up in the air constitutes a visit…well ok I give you that. Dr. King spoke regularly of “testing the Spirit which guided him with God’s word” to ensure his fight was HIS fight as well. Do you test the spirit which guides you Ms. Henderson? Do you test the spirit that you say “tells you that you will be elected as a State Legislator?” The word Racism in 2013 is “used as a divisive tool by politicians who stand to benefit the most from a de-unified society” If all races could understand and embrace one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind…LOVE…the unification process of the American Society would return the power to “the people” as the founders of this great country invisioned. “Troy has a problem: Council Woman DJ King Henderson”

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  • trojanchad

    Troy Alabama has a bigger problem with elected officials spewing this racist dreck.

    If most or all parents are requesting teachers and a black teacher ends up with mostly black students, is it unreasonable that the black parents chose the black teacher? What are your thoughts on that? Where is their diversity training?

    Also this quote was the most unapologeticly racist comment of them all:

    “”We should hire and keep as many African-American teachers that apply and a classroom is available to put them in”"

    Skin color alone should be the basis for getting a job at Troy City Schools? How about we hire people who are qualified regardless of skin color?

    When is this seat up? Who is running against Ms. Henderson and would they like a campaign donation now or closer to election time?

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  • Bill_OReally

    “Yes, some students and parents have serious behavioral issues. I believe it’s not really their fault.”

    Of course you don’t. God forbid people take responsibility for their own actions.

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  • Bill_OReally

    “Right now, sadly in 2013 Troy, Alabama is only a wonderful place for most white people to live, not most of the black and brown residents.”

    Well unless you are one of the countless white people in Troy who have had black people break into their houses to rob them. Now THAT is a major problem in Troy.

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  • OldSchoolPike3Worker

    If I knew you could be this far off base and still be an elected official in Troy, then I would have run for office a long time ago.

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  • Trojanparents

    This disgusts me. For a public servant to actually put something like this in writing, is a disgrace to the office you hold. You have been a racist for years and everyone is aware of the “agenda” you had in place from the time you announced your canidacy. 20 years ago, the racial make-up of Troy City Schools was about even. I have had 4 children in the school system, with 2 having graduated. You want to know what happened to cause the big change? It wasnt “teacher requests”, I can assure you that. You think it may be the housing projects and Section 8 housing that surrounds our Elementary School? Hmmmm….just ride by there at 3:10pm and your question will be answered. You know what, who gives a crap? Do you think I care about the racial make up? Do you think any of the parents who care about their childs education cares? What in the world makes you feel as if it is okay to generalize “white people, white administrators, white students, and white teachers” in such a way? Again, you are disgusting. This year, i put 2 black teachers on my list!!! What in da wurld wud I do summin’ like dat fo? BECAUSE WE HAVE GREAT TEACHERS! PERIOD! You never had white children request you because you are a known racist! By the way, what if you lived on the other side of 231? Would you be playing the race card because there were no busses to take your kids to and from school, since we dont have busses. Answer that for me Ms. Henderson. We have been descriminated against for years. If the schools were on this side of the highway, I am sure there would be a lawsuit by now for not providing transportation for the kids over there. But hey, I love sitting in school lines in the morning, having to pay someone to pick up my kids and drive them home after school. THAT MY FRIEND, is on of the perks of being white in Troy, AL. You are a joke.

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    • Observer

      Some interesting data from the United States Census. Troy has three zip codes – 36081 north of 231, 36079 south of 231 and 36082 which is Troy State’s special code. From 2000 to 2010 the White population in 36081 decreased at 3.63 percent and the Black population increased by 5.58 percent. But, in 36079, the White population increased by 18.18 percent and the Black population INCREASED by 20.27 percent. Overall, the population of 36081 increased by 4.63 percent and the population of 36079 increased by 20.92 percent. This raises the question, why are we building and enlarging schools in 36081 when the population is moving to 36079?

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  • troyfan922

    I am very disappointed the Messenger actually printed this rubbish. For someone to use their position as an elected official to attempt to cause such a stir is a disgrace to the people who elected her and the city she was elected to serve. I am a graduate of CHHS and have 2 children who are in the TCS system. She is correct there are problems in our schools but her perception of those problems are masked by her own racism. Perhaps she is blinded so by her own hatred of white children in our schools that she doesn’t care to address one of the real problems. My oldest child has been bullied in this school system for the past several years and my youngest has been pushed around and called nasty names. The main children doing this are black boys, however very little has ever been done to them. I am sure administrators fear being accused of racism if they were to actually take disciplinary action on these boys and not the white kid they made their verbal punching bag. My oldest had such a horrible experience in TCS that he asked to be taken out and attend school elsewhere. A beautiful girl and student of CHMS took her own life in Dec and rumors were that she was being bullied. School officials handled this matter by notifying the children AT SCHOOL without notifying the parents. There are problems at TCS just as there are with any other school system, but this racism accusation crap has to stop. Thank goodness you are no longer educating the young minds of Troy and teaching them your racial garbage. Consider using your position to promote positive change in Troy and start with yourself. Perhaps, madam you need diversity training. Lead by example!!!
    Troy Messenger, shame on you for dignifying this disgrace by publishing it. You, as an organization, can lead by example as well and not promote such negativity and blatant hatred towards TCS and its teachers. If you felt a need to publish this ridiculous letter why not take some time and make a few phone calls to TCS and ask about this teacher request policy? Publish your findings with the letter.

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    • Observer

      Please do not chastise The Messenger for publishing this letter. The Messenger is timid enough (as evidenced by prompt removal of some posts) without adding pressure to not make waves. After all, the reason the founding fathers put newspapers in the First Amendment was to promote just such discussions. Opinions may be offensive, they may be wrong. But the solution is never to silence them. Rather the solution is to rationally and responsibly respond. Otherwise yuou give the heckler the advantage of the veto.

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  • OldSchoolPike3Worker

    We are taught that discrimination is something to be frowned upon. But when you think about it, everyone discriminates when making decisions in their lives. When you are wanting a product or service, society says that it’s smart to shop around and compare the pros and cons of something before you make a decision to purchase. When we choose a mate to spend our life with, there are certain attributes that we look for in a person. These are all perfectly normal forms of discrimination in our society. When we raise our children, however, are we not supposed to want the best teachers and classroom environment for our kids? If a 5 year old child comes home using profanity or talking about drug use or sex, it is only reasonable for a parent to be concerned and take an active role in determining who is teaching and how their child is being taught.

    Yet we have a member of our local government that defines this problem using the colors black, brown and white. People, we don’t have a color problem, we have a moral problem.

    This moral problem isn’t in the classroom as the Council member suggest, but it stems from the homes of our children. There are parents in our city that refuse to be parents and raise their kids to be respectful of other people, property, and authority. Perhaps it’s because these parents haven’t been taught it themselves. I don’t know.

    Rather than complaining about those parents that take an active role in their child’s education, Ms. Henderson should address the real problem of have parents that don’t.

    This is about morality in a civil society. Only an ignorant person sees this as a racial issue.

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  • bethechange

    What a complete HYPOCRITE you are, DJ….you should be ashamed of yourself but I know that’s not possible, due to your ignorance!!!! Why are you making such a big deal out of teacher requests now, instead of when it was implemented, by the former, BLACK superintendent????? Answer that one, DJ! You have one of the WORST reputations as an elementary teacher, I’d never allow my children to dare be taught by someone as racist and full of hate as you.
    If you’d use your political role in a USEFUL manor, you might do something positive, for a change!!! Instead of criticizing the white people, go into the projects and get your people to start taking an active role in this community and in their children’s lives…instead of them continuing to live off the money given to them by our government, which I’m sure YOU voted for!! When are we, as Americans, going to quit enabling this??? I’m sorry, DJ, that you have such hate for us white people, but I can assure you, I take pleasure from going to work every day, providing for my family and not being a pathetic, worthless individual who waits for their government check every month…… Why don’t you lead the crusade to help your own people better themselves, instead of trying to play the old, worn out, racial card! The definition of racism=you looking in the mirror!

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  • jolly79

    This article should be renamed “Council member has a problem”. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out within a few sentences that it is Mrs. Henderson herself who has a problem with racial discrimination. If no other comment revealed her true motivation, the “Rush Limbaugh mentality, anti- President Obama society” comment told us all we needed to know. The fact that she would equate her own perceived imbalance in classroom population with a distaste for Obama is immature, improper, irrelevant, and ignorant.
    The fact that the black teachers’ classrooms are filled with black students is primarily a result of the majority of black parents having the same mindset as Mrs. Henderson – thinking only a black teacher is fit to teach their black children and thus choosing the black teachers on their Teacher Preference forms. I would love for someone to pull these forms from any given year and check the percentages of black students who had a black teacher listed first on their preference forms.
    She goes so far as to even presume to know how the “white teachers” THINK, claiming they “never intend to go” into low-income neighborhoods and “don’t like black males”.
    She seems to be prejudiced even against her OWN RACE, associating the “black and brown classrooms” with “serious behavioral issues”. Is that her real complaint about having all black/brown classrooms?
    She further reveals her mindset when she (for reasons unknown) admits to not wanting her son to date anyone of another race. The more she writes, the deeper she digs.
    But one of the most racist comments of all was her opinion that “we should hire and keep as many African-American teachers that apply and a classroom is available to put them in.” So, regardless of their qualifications or experience, if they are black we should hire them?? There should be only one question on the application: What is your skin color??? I wonder if she has ever looked into the percentages of white/black applicants for teaching jobs at TCS? Or even the percentages of whites/blacks who graduate with teaching degrees?…. or even major in teaching?? Doubtful, because she had rather assume that the same number of blacks apply as do whites, and that they all have identical qualifications, but the school board chooses the white ones just because they are white!!!
    I have two children in the TCS system. They have both had white teachers and black teachers. We have listed both white and black teachers on our preference sheets in years past. Our older white child has had black teachers that we later requested for our youngest child. The real problem comes when we consider skin color as a determining factor in someone being a good teacher or not.
    CHOOSING someone (whether a teacher or a president) because of their skin color is just as big a sin as REJECTING someone because of their skin color. As Martin L. King said, the content of one’s character should be the determining factor. Encouraging a victim mentality is a poor excuse for leadership from an elected official.

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  • gottaloveit

    “Troy has a problem” One look at today’s Messenger and it’s obvious where the problem is. The headlines read: Two Arrested…, Life without parole… I am still dumbfounded as to how someone could twist the obvious problem in this town into her twisted mess. To say that because we have parents that are actively involved in their child’s education by wanting the best for them, we have a problem? We do have a problem but I can guarantee you that it is not where she is placing the blame!!! Meanwhile, in other news, the same councilwoman hosts a “faith-based” townhall meeting to discuss “important” issues such a recycling and life insurance. Huh?

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