Thursday, September 15, 2016

District Cancels African-American Event Due to Safety Issues

This advisory from SPS Communications was sent out very late today so I had no opportunity to find out any further details.

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) are united in our commitment to eliminating opportunity gaps and accelerating learning for each and every student.
 Due to actions outside of the SPS community, including a potential security threat to our students, we are canceling the Black Men Uniting to Change the Narrative celebration scheduled at John Muir Elementary School for Friday, September 16. This decision was made after consultation with the Seattle Police Department and the SPS safety and security staff.
 The safety and security of our students is a top priority.
The Times reports:

The elementary school had scheduled a celebration called “Black Men Uniting to Change the Narrative,” where more than 100 black men would gather outside and greet students as they walked into the building, with the goal of dispelling stereotypes. A similar event was held at South Shore K-8 last school year.

Teachers had planned to wear shirts that featured the school’s name along with “We Stand Together” and “Black Lives Matter.” Several local news outlets published stories about the teachers’ plans, which were then picked up by conservative national outlets such as Fox News, Breitbart and the Daily Caller.


Apparently, conservative news outlets have picked up this story and it is being widely circulated.



(King5 News)

44 comments:

Joe Bob said...

Cowering in the face of domestic terror threats.

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear it actually went forward, with the teachers in their shirts!! I hope the district shares some pictures!

Just sayin'

Another Name said...

I am seeing a lot of activists supporting Black Lives Matter, but these same people do NOT have children in the school.

There was a bomb threat and I would actually like to hear from parents- whose children are in the school. At some level, were those that showed-up acting irresponsible. The news is reporting that school board member- Stephan Blanford was in attendance.

Charlie Mas said...

@Joe Bob, What is the District supposed to do? Ignore the threats and expose the children to potential harm? It's one thing to be brave with your own life and well-being; it's another thing to risk the lives and well-being of children placed in your care.

Another Name said...

Due to actions outside of the SPS community, including a potential security threat to our students, we are cancelling the Black Men Uniting to Change the Narrative celebration scheduled at John Muir Elementary School for Friday, September 16. This decision was made after consultation with the Seattle Police Department and the SPS safety and security staff."

The decision to cancel the event was made in conjunction with Seattle Police Department. I would want my elementary school student protected- at all costs.

Again, those supporting the movement do not have children in the school. These individuals are free to take their protests to the street and leave elementary schools, alone. Honestly.

Robert Cruickshank said...

There are quite a lot of parents with children at the school who strongly supported the event and are glad something like it went ahead this morning. My FB feed has been filled with parents at John Muir sharing photos from this morning and thanking everyone who showed up to make it possible.

Another Name said...

That's fine, Robert, but there are also parents saying they want their children safe. The school district acted to protect students.

Another Name said...

If an incident occurred and a child were harmed, the district would be blamed- again. I'm calling BS on this one. Those that showed-up acted irresponsibly.

Honey.cake said...

So if I'm hearing correctly, the event was canceled because a threat was made against the school. If they truly believed in this threat, they (I hope) would not have allowed ANY children to show up at school today, Because that would not be right.They didn't cancel school. Perhaps the threat was extremely pointed and was like if I see black men outside of that school, greeting children as they walk in today, I will blah blah blah, but even that would have been hard to pull off in a school where roughly 40% of the children are African American. I'm a parent at this school. I was scheduled to help with the sign in this morning and I was very deliberate with every motion I made before leaving the house this morning. Not because I thought there was a bomb threat, because if you think 400 children are in danger, you don't send them to school. I wasn't sure if some jack-off was going to attack us or throw something at us or make a negative experience out of this positive one. But you know what I said to myself, Ida B Wells, Fannie Lou Hammer, and Coretta Scott King all put their clothes on anyway and stood up.

If you are not outraged that Seattle Public Schools has the largest achievement gap in the nation, that's fine. If that does not make you question an entire system, that you are lawfully supporting with your tax dollars, and is knowingly and deliberately underserving a portion of that same community, then that's fine too. But don't be outraged that people from the community (and they were people who had gone to this school, grew up in this neighborhood, sent their kids to this school, not activists from God knows where) who happen to be African American came down to greet children at school today? Do I need to come up with a hashtag and put it in on a tshirt before people care about it? If they had not attached the black lives matter to it (thanks King5 for focusing on that part), no one would have cared, because no one does. #blacklivesstillmatter #underserved #celebratediversity #dontenageit

Anonymous said...

Thank you Honey.Cake - thank you.

I frequently tell my children exactly what you wrote - that getting up every morning and showing up is the very first, and often the most important, thing to do. Showing up is the first step to being seen, being counted, being recognized - thank you.

- Math Counts

Another Name said...

" I wasn't sure if some jack-off was going to attack us or throw something at us or make "

That was your decision, Honey Cake, but putting elementary school children in the middle of potentially dangerous situation is a different story.

Elementary schools should not be the target of political or religious activities. You may or may not agree with another agenda.

Lynn said...

We have one of the largest achievement gaps not because the low scores are so low but because our high scores are too high. See pages seven and eight of this document: http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/Friday%20Memos/2016-17/August%2019/20160819_Friday_Memo_SLI_GapClosingPresentation.pdf

There is clearly a problem here but the gap isn't the issue.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Honey.cake

real time

Anonymous said...

Lynn & Honey Cake- Looking at the report & what districts are compared to Seattle, I would guess that the income & education gap is much higher in Seattle than the neighboring districts. Income inequality is a huge driver in the achievement gap. Black-White achievement gap has narrowed considerable past 50 years if controlled for income.

See this recent research from Standford:https://cepa.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/reardon%20whither%20opportunity%20-%20chapter%205.pdf
An excerpt."First, the income achievement gap (defined here as the average achievement difference between a child from a family at the 90th percentile of the family income distribution and a child from a family at the 10th percentile) is now nearly twice as large as the black -white achievement gap. Fifty years ago, in contrast, the black-white gap was one and a half to two times as large as the income gap."
-MB

Anonymous said...

Regarding the gap data. Quality matters.

SPS compared itself to Auburn, Clover Park, Puyallup, Spokane, Tacoma and N. Thurston school districts.

Left out Lk. Washington, Issaquah, Bellevue school districts for comparison. I dunno. If Seattle median income is 80K, maybe we should try matching up rich school districts against each other for better, more meaningful analysis.

real time

Anonymous said...

Jinks MB!

real time

Honey.cake said...

Another Name, I'm going to do this just one time. I see you have your narrative and I have mine and so we won't agree because we're already on two different sides of this coin and we'll never see each other. Knowing what you know about life, do you really believe that they would have let those children go into that school, if they thought the bomb threat was credible? They would have cancelled school. Inside, somewhere you know this.

It was my choice. I would do it again. You're right the elementary schools should be off limits for threats, but you do understand that I didn't make threats against the school. There are many people who shared the headline "Teachers wear blacklivesmatter t-shirts to school" and conjured all sorts of images around what they believe that means to them and you should scold them with all the venom in your body about making threats against an elementary school (you won't,but you should). I, nor any of the parents or staff should take the blame for endangering elementary school students. Leave that logic behind. Doing something that people don't agree with should not elicit death threats. And to even insinuate that it was earned is some sort of mental mumnbo jumbo that I'm not even here for. Save your "you put my kids in danger" ire for them.

But that's not why I went to the school today. That's not why I was there. I came there because I am interested in changing the narrative. This overwhelming belief that blackness is dangerous or stupid (Lynn just posted something to basically say, oh it's not that the SPS black kids are so dumb, it's that the SPS white kids are so smart. Thanks, Lynn (read that as girl, bye).

There's nothing political or dangerous about greeting children at school while being black. Nothing at all. But what about blacklivesmatter? That's a politcal group (in my whiny voice)? It could not have been. I'm sure SPS looked all this up before giving their short-lived support. So calling something a political activity does not make it so.

Anonymous said...

Ok, now I luv u honey.cake

real time

Anonymous said...

Honey cake-- I don't think Lynn meant to imply black kids are stupid and white kids are smart. I really think the very large achievement gap in Seattle between "whites" & some (not all asian groups) people of color is income based. Income inequality is growing nationwide & this includes between middle class & affluent groups. Data is pointing toward huge gaps in achievement between middle & upper class as well. There are alot more really affluent white & asian people here in Seattle than the other districts mentioned. It would be a more interesting comparison if they controlled for income & included Bellevue etc.
-MB

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

You don't have to look to Fox or Breitbart, our own Dori Monson and MyNorthwest whistled up their haters in no time flat.

http://mynorthwest.com/393527/john-muir-teachers-black-lives-matter/

Read the comments and see what we're up against.

I'm not touching Lynn's comment.


grape juice

Anonymous said...

MB, you can make it all about income inequality. But that Seattle 80 K median bar, guess who comes in below? Seattle median income for blacks @ 37K and Latinos- 49K.

real time

Lynn said...

Seriously? Are you saying the gap is the problem? If so, decreasing the SBAC proficiency rates for white students by 51 points would solve the problem. Would that solution satisfy you?

The district isn't interested in the income-based achievement gap. They compared Seattle to those particular districts because they're the ones that have the largest Black student populations.

Another Name said...

"I wasn't sure if some jack-off was going to attack us or throw something at us or make,,"

Your words, Honey Cake, not mine. Take your actions to the street- not local elementary schools.

Not all John Muir parents share your sentiments.

Anonymous said...

If SPS was looking for districts with large black populations to compare with, it needs to drop a couple and add other districts, and control for income. Then it'd make more sense.

real time

Anonymous said...

Here's a Pew report on the gulf. Or worlds apart. Never mind the gap.

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/06/27/on-views-of-race-and-inequality-blacks-and-whites-are-worlds-apart/

real time

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lynn said...

real time - affluent districts in this area don't have enough Black students to allow calculation of a meaningful achievement gap.

Bellevue - 535 students (2.7% of the district)
Issaquah - 332 students (1.7%)
Lake Washington - 450 students (1.6%)

Anonymous said...

@ Another name - Do you have students at John Muir?

@ Honey Cake - great posts!

CapHill Parent

Pm said...

Lynn--

Even if you lowered the performance of white students to the level of whites in other districts, there would still be an achievement gap. In all districts in the graph, African-American students perform much more poorly than white students on the tests. I am saddened by this gap and hope that the district will continue to try to raise up African-American students. Income and racial segregation in Seattle schools creates inequities.

Another Name said...

I maintain that a protest should have taken place on the street.

I have experience where student safety was at risk and I wish that on no one.

Three directors were at the event (Geary and Blanford) were at the event. They thought they could hold back violence. Wonderful. I would have preferred these two to be mindful of student safety.

Anonymous said...

I see Black Lives Matter as having a significant violent and anti-police element and don't think the teachers should be making that kind of political statement in the schools.

There have been a significant increase in the number of police officers shot at and killed in the last year, partly due to the BLM anti-cop messages. Yesterday was no exception, unfortunately.

We should also be thinking of students who have relatives and friends who are in law enforcement and what messages we are sending to them. As someone who has (non-white) relatives who are police officers, I think about that for my son. And when it's OK for a student assembly to be full of anti-police messages, including a statement that "We don't have the KKK anymore. Now they're called the police", that's a problem.

Momof2

Another Name said...

Thank you, Momof2. Black Lives Matter was called-in to "sharpen the pencil".

One person knew there was a bomb threat and did not know what was happening at the school. He had not been able to get in touch with the principal.

I'm seeing a herd mentality, here, and I'm disappointed that two board members joined-in.

Student safety- first. Take your protest to the street and I will join you.

Another Name said...

Clarification: One parent knew there was a bomb threat and was unsuccessful in reaching the principal.

Anonymous said...

Read the news Momof2.

"I see (the Police) as having a significant violent and anti-(Black and minority) element"

My edits

Scarcrow

Another Name said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Lynn, try Spokane. The percentage isn't great either. And other distrcts with small black population were included. Why not Shoreline, Vancouver? The graphics make SPS looks great. But it doesn't control for income or wealthy/poor school districts which matters. Given that, I jdon't think it's all that effective to use SPS info to make your point.

real time

Lynn said...

Spokane 872 2.9%
Shoreline 641 6.9%
Vancouver 604 2.6%

Only 4.4% of the students in the state are Black.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's the thing.

A lot of folks believe that the gap isn't rooted in race, but in wealth and income. For them, the gap among races is a result of a correlation between race and economics. These folks reckon that poverty creates barriers to child development and those barriers are the root cause of the gap.

There are other folks who believe that the gap is rooted in race and that the economic narrative is an attempt to dodge uncomfortable discussions about race and racism.

I think they are both right. I think that the gap is a measure of the impact of poverty on child development and I think that the correlation between race and poverty is the result of racism. Particularly the continuing correlation between race and poverty.

Our society has to find a way to address the impact of poverty on child development and has to find a way to help people out of poverty and has to tear down the barriers that prevent people from climbing out of poverty. I think the only reason our nation has not done so already is racism. I see White folks who are perfectly willing to make investments in human capital when the investments are largely in other White folks refuse (sometimes with very nuanced and sophisticated rationalizations) when the humans getting the investment are Black and Brown.

Everybody is right. Everybody is on the same side. Now, can we stop arguing about WHY the gap and get to work on closing it? If you think it is due to poverty, then let's work to address the consequences of poverty and work to provide ladders out of poverty. If you think it is due to racism then continue to expose racist actions by our social institutions and call them to account and to reveal the shared humanity of all people.

Finally, Black Lives Matter is not a violent movement. It is not an anti-police movement. That's simply not true - or at least no more true than the slanders laid against the major political parties and every other movement. All movements have followers who misunderstand the message and all movements have opposition who misstate the message. The message of Black Lives Matter is to demand more professional policing, more racially equal policing, and police work that understands that the work of the police, first and foremost, is to protect people's rights. They should not behave as an occupying army that robs people of their rights. Surely that's a position that all Americans share. Isn't it?

Charlie Mas said...

Oh, and the idea that the District should have cancelled school in response to the threat instead of just cancelling the event doesn't make sense. The threat was about the event. Take away the event and you take away the threat. The people who made the threat believe they accomplished their objective when the District announced that the event was cancelled. Because they did.

Anonymous said...

Charlie,

Do you seriously believe that Black Lives Matter is not violent and anti-police? Google "Black Lives Matter" "Pigs in a blanket" and you'll see dozens of videos of groups of BLM protestors calling for police to be "fried like bacon".

Blue Lives Matter

Anonymous said...

Much like the Vietnam War Protestors did. They called police officers pigs.

Another unarmed black man died on Friday because the police shot him when his car broke down on the road. He on his way home from his college class. They said he looked scary. The police need to start policing their own instead of protecting the bad apples.

HP

Charlie Mas said...

Yes. I seriously believe that Black Lives Matter is not violent and not anti-police. You want to look stuff up on the web, look them up: http://blacklivesmatter.com/. You will find a commitment to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace.

I did your search and came up with one instance of the chant you referenced. The chant apparently lasted about thirty seconds during four hours of marching on one day at the Minnesota State Fair. To suggest that it is, in any way, a central theme of the movement based on this single case is absurd. The march organizer said that the brief chant was in response to some good-natured banter with the police group marching in front of them and was not intended as a promotion of violence.

So... is that all you got?

Hey. Even if it were not a brief, misunderstood, and isolated case, the fact would remain that it does not define the movement. The movement is still fundamentally about more professional police practices that respect the rights of all citizens regardless of race.

Do you oppose that? If not, then you support it.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe the BLM movement is responsible for violence against police. I believe the increase in availability of video of police incidents where unarmed black men were killed by police, videos that demonstrate that in those incidents the police lied about why they shot the victims, and show the cops supporting each other's lies about the incidents, have led to black vigilantism. I don't approve of the violence against the police of course, but I think it's naive to think the BLM movement caused it.

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