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Black family sues school for refusing to protect their daughter from abuse by peers

Found this one interesting. We raised our kids in an area where none of the schools had high percentages of black students. They too were usually the only black kids in their honors classes. er.

They got their share of occasional digs and comments for being different. Basically, the “everyone has a place in the public school” mantra is more accurately translated, “everyone has a place in the public school so long as you conform to the expected behavior of your group”.

WINTERY KNIGHT

Political contributions by the American Federation of Teachers union Political contributions by the American Federation of Teachers union

I just thought the following story was astonishing. My heart really goes out to this little girl, who is just trying to work hard and make a life for herself.

This is from The State.

Excerpt:

Parents of an African-American girl at Columbia’s Hand Middle School have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Richland School District 1, alleging school officials did little for two years while their academically advanced daughter was physically and verbally abused for “acting white.”

“Hand Middle School students called (the girl) racial slurs and physically assaulted her on numerous occasions,” says the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Columbia by Alex Young, a soldier at Fort Jackson, and his wife, Toschia Moffett, a consultant.

“Although approximately 50 percent of the students at Hand Middle School identify as African American, (the girl) was one of…

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22 thoughts on “Black family sues school for refusing to protect their daughter from abuse by peers”

  1. Crabs in a bucket. I always wonder why parents don’t pull kids out of school in these situations. Two years of bullying and nothing being done about it? That’s way too long.

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  2. Schools never do anything about actual bullying. I’ve not seen it anyway. All the anti-bullying talk is empty rhetoric. When the rubber meets the road, these parents should sue themselves. Don’t expect the school to care.

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  3. Schools never do anything about actual bullying. I’ve not seen it anyway. All the anti-bullying talk is empty rhetoric. When the rubber meets the road, these parents should sue themselves. Don’t expect the school to care.

    I think people often do expect far too much from school administrators and their minions. All the “for the children talk” is nothing more than PR.

    They really don’t care. The public school system is a jobs program first and foremost. As much as I appreciate Wintery Knight’s logic when he asserts that the families and kids are the “customers” of the public school system, that really isn’t true.

    Even a cursory bit of research will bear that out.

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  4. Brings back memories of middle school, where those who were “nerdy” (not necessarily the best students, just the nerds like me) were the subject of relentless verbal attacks, generally sexually driven. I can’t imagine it if I’d also been seen as some sort of traitor to my race., too.

    That noted, I’d have to guess that if Mom and Dad were telling the offenders that they expected them to take their education seriously, and backing it up with serious consequences if they didn’t, this kind of thing would stop. The government schools are not the root cause here, but rather messed up families, I dare say.

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  5. Hey, Bike.

    Your comment reminds me of a quote from the book Hillbilly Ellegy, by J.D. Vance:

    As a teacher at my old high school told me recently, “They want us to be shepherds to these kids. But no one wants to talk about the fact that many of them are raised by wolves.”

    And note, he was referring to schools, teachers, and kids in the lily white Appalachian hills.

    As it happens, more of this stuff is associated with lower socioeconomic class and it happens that proportionately, a larger percentage of the black population can be categorizes as lower socioeconomic so you see more of this stuff there.

    But it’s hardly relegated solely to the domain of black kids.

    That said, the added accusation of being labeled a traitor to your race for speaking your native language and working hard to succeed at whatever you put your hands to do is all kinds of nutso.

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  6. Definitely not just black kids–visit the poor section of any town in the Midwest and you’ll see it. Correlates pretty well with unwed parents, too. And in my town, it bit a lot of my tormenters on the tuckus and HARD, too, when time came to find work.

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  7. I think the parents should’ve done more, a long time ago. As Bike said, this isn’t limited to black kids. Kids with disabilities in mainstream classrooms are abused by their classmates, and I’ve seen schools move quickly to remedy those situations.

    I was the only brown child during late elementary school and you can imagine there was bullying. My mom came during open house and made a beeline to the teacher and spoke openly about it, in earshot of other kids and their parents. The teacher tried to deflect it onto me, saying that I needed to tell my classmates to stop, and my mom wasn’t having any of it. If parents don’t make these things known right away, schools think they can slide and assume the parents don’t think incident C is that bad if they weren’t forceful about A and B.

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  8. I agree that the parents should have done more. One big thing parents need to do is accept that no matter how *good* their school district, the fact that it is subject to state guidelines is amost automatically a problem.

    The only exceptions (that I’ve witnessed) is in very, very small rural towns where a lot of the sensibilities of urban and suburban life haven’t had a chance to take hold.

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  9. State guidelines are a problem, and sometimes a bit of isolation is helpful–one of the big things that helps MN is that, by and large, the “new math” and “whole language” never caught on. I’m not sure why, as we’re pretty liberal otherwise here. Might have something to do with the fact that a huge portion of the state primarily spoke German, Norwegian, Swedish, or Finnish until not that long ago–and teaching them English without phonics would have been darned near impossible.

    And it’s hard to overstate the importance of parental involvement. When I was young, there was a huge parental push for the schools to DO SOMETHING for kids who were fairly smart, and my mother’s response was pretty much “Why don’t you do something for yourselves?”. We were always amazed at how many kids had rarely if ever been to Chicago’s museums (only an hour away, and almost free at the time), and also how many kids didn’t have very many books at home. Mom never would have admitted homeschooling my brother and I, but in effect she did.

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  10. Do you have kids in public high school? Because I highly doubt they’re not encountering “new math” in some form if they are there, no matter how rural or whatever state. I’ll never get over how many times people think the schools wherever they happen to be are better than other places – even if it’s only another area of the same city they do this.

    Just don’t be too naive about it is all. People here (ND) say Fargo schools are some of the best but I can tell already (less than a month in) that they’re pretty much as lame as anywhere else. Let’s not kid ourselves.

    That said, through my own involvement with home education, my eldest who used to have an IEP (code for “you’re not too bright”) is now in AP, so you’re certainly right that parental involvement matters.

    On a side note, I think it may have been you that mentioned to Robinson curriculum on one of Elspeth’s blogs, and I hadn’t heard of it before. We ended up using it with modifications. It works!

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  11. but I can tell already (less than a month in) that they’re pretty much as lame as anywhere else.

    yep. Bike’s a die hard “homeschool or die type”, but you’re absolutely right. We often think the right zip code will yield better school when the reality is that the kids in those school come from parents who make more money and therefore prepare their kids better and are more involved. It creates a false sense of security.

    I made the same mistake, thinking that because of where we live the school was going to be “better”. But they taught the new math, LOL.

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  12. The parents make a huge difference, for sure–Milton Friedman, when confronted with the apparent economic success of Sweden, pointed out that in the less socialist states of the Dakotas and MN, that Swedish-Americans had even better results. My hometown in IN is also heavily Swedish, and also has some pretty good results. That said, standards are indeed different–my nephew and a young man from a former church found that when comparing MN graduation requirements with those in MN and SC. And my source on the New Math was the “Red” Star-Tribune from about 2005.

    Scary thing, though, is that even with higher standards and a relative lack of Sputnik math, 35% of incoming students in the U-Minn system still need remedial classes. So the degree of mediocrity in the schools is really pretty amazing.

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  13. Bike, I don’t know if you’d heard, but there are schools that are going to do away with remedial classes. I’d like to think that means they’ll just fail out students who can’t hack it (forcing them to rely on tutoring or books to get up to speed) but we all know that it means the regular classes are going to be made remedial.

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  14. I don’t see how it would be any different apart from demographics. It’s a national curriculum. The dept of ed is a national entity. If you don’t actually have kids in the school system, you really have no clue. And even then most parents have no clue! 2005 in a newspaper is the source? I rest my case.

    Remedial classes no longer exist – they just give the kids an IEP, requiring less work for the same grade. That is what my daughter had, but after 2 years of home educating, she’s in AP now. There are no “gifted” classes either see, only the opportunity to take supposed college level classes. Don’t rely on newspapers for information. Surely everyone here knows that by now!

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  15. Oh and no failing out – that’s the essence of no child left behind. Sorry, this is a bit of a hobby horse for me and I’m bored, lol. Kids that fail out would most likely not get tutoring and books either. Kids are less likely to fail in the first place if they have the kind of parents who would provide them with educational resources.

    I’ll try to get off my hobby horse now.

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  16. You’re right about the school agenda. Even in the rural case that I referred to earlier, the difference is more about the cultural atmosphere than educational standards.

    As to the supposed college level classes, we decided to skip that and just take the classes at the college, and get the credit for the work rather than deal with all that extra homework only to NOT get the credit if, for example, one of our kids is feeling particularly sick on AP exam day and did poorly. AP is not all its cracked up to be. Our kids took them in 9th and 10th grades, but as soon as they were eligible for dual enrollment, we jumped on it. eleigible

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  17. Good to know! I’ll have to keep that in mind (they only offer on AP class for freshmen at this school anyway so she’ll be doing that next semester). I’m not surprised it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, lol. Why I say “supposed” college level…

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  18. Kids are less likely to fail in the first place if they have the kind of parents who would provide them with educational resources.

    Exactly, and to bring this back round to the OP, the parents of the kids who tormented this child would do well to figure out what they need to do (in addition to discipline) to help their children achieve to the best of their ability,

    Our 9-year-old, much like our oldest, has always been intellectually sharp. Our 11-year-old is bright and creative but not as bookish. Homeschooling her has always been a slog. She reads well, and is capable, but she just doesn’t really *like* school.

    So we found a program for the kids that would stretch her a bit and add some accountability. It’s been a month. She’s more likely to pick up a book without being encouraged to read. She’s showing a lot of interest in lots of more cerebral things and she is showing far more intention than I expcected at this point. I think the additional social outlet has been helpful as well.

    In other words, when we saw we needed to do something, we did something.

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  19. Ah, my comment about remedial classes was at the college level. They used to offer remedial math and english, and there is at least one university system out here that is going to stop. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-cal-state-remedial-requirements-20170803-story.html

    I know from experience that they don’t have gifted classes at elementary school these days, excepting the opportunity to do more work. :p They used to, I was in GATE from 6-8th grade. It was good stuff. Not so much any more, it died (if it made it that far) with NCLB. Common Core assumes we’re all gifted. -headdesk-

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  20. My comment about remedial classes was about college level, FWIW. I actually taught some of them back at Michigan State, and suffice it to say I could always tell whose elementary school teacher hated math–half the red marks I’d put on their papers would be for arithmetic mistakes, and suffice it to say that I killed the STEM career dreams of a lot of otherwise intelligent young people. Some wised up and left the lecture/recitation format at MSU for an actual class at a local community college, some of them making it back into the STEM track.

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