Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Before Tomorrow's Black Lives Matter Event

I asked the district if I could go to one elementary, one middle school and one high school tomorrow.  I figured Bagley because I hear they were having an assembly, HIMS because it seems to have focus on this topic and Hale because it's an active school and near my house.

The district has declined to allow me to go to any school.  I have to wonder if other media are being turned away.

I see Ingraham is inviting people to come so I may join other members of the community there.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

All the High school 10 and 11 graders are doing the PSAT all day.

-SPSParent

Anonymous said...

Pretty Odd,. . A goal is communication on these important issues and to engage the community members in discussion. Melissa please do not come to these three schools .... Say What? ... More downtown misdirection .. Day of Solidarity or Black Lives Matter or please don't come. Guess it depends who you are.

--Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Bad idea scheduling the event on PSAT day IMO. I think a lot of 10 and 11 graders would be interested in participating. Or at the very least will find it hard to settle down and focus.

-SPSParent

Anonymous said...

Please do not create a distraction for those taking the PSAT. If you want to visit a high school, plan it at the very end of the school day when testing has ended.

enough.




seattle citizen said...

enough, I understand your reasoning, but the students will be in gyms or classrooms or wherever; I doubt Melissa's visit would interfere with the testing.

Josh Hayes said...

At least at my school (LWSD), the PSAT will be over about 3.5 hours after it begins. Assuming they start at 8:30, which I think is right, they should be done around noon or so. I suspect the BLM-related events will be in the afternoon, but I can't confirm that. I know we have some Ingraham community members here: can anyone drop a schedule on us?

Josh Hayes said...

The daily bulletin says, testing tomorrow at IHS is 8:45 to 12:10. No word in the bulletin about BLM events.

Anonymous said...

9th and 12th graders have a late start as students taking the PSAT will be in classrooms throughout the school. It would violate testing protocol to have a visitor in the classrooms. Why would you visit at that time? Hopefully principals will make it clear there are to be no outside visitors during PSAT testing. If you want to support students you will ensure a quiet, uneventful morning for all those testing.

thank you

Anonymous said...

The only students in the building at Ingraham until 12:10 will be the ones taking the PSAT. Lunch is until 12:45 and after that they have a compressed schedule with all 6 classes.

Momof2

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh c;mon, of course I wouldn't just go into classrooms; you can't even do that anyway. There is a protocol for these things and I know it from years of experience.

But what is interesting is that I reached out to some other media and apparently the district isn't letting anyone in anywhere.

Now why would that be if this is such an important event? Okay, I can see not the high schools but nowhere? Very suspicious.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that info, MW. I'm guessing it is SEE that wants the publicity, not SPS. Perhaps SPS is taking the rumored threats seriously. It is SEE that is hyping the event.

guessing

Anonymous said...

Franklin: Uproar over covenant only African-American students asked to sign


http://www.kiro7.com/news/local/uproar-over-covenant-only-african-american-students-asked-to-sign/458572882

Seriously?

Anonymous said...

Longtime reader of the site, usually a fan of Melissa's blogging, but just don't understand this. This isn't intended for the media. Its for teachers, parents, and students. This is like the freedom schools in Seattle classrooms in the 1960s.

Think about the political angle too. The bad guys, like Gates, now say they care about equity and racism. They're lying. But we have to show our side, the pro-public education side, are the real and true champs of equity and justice. I don't get why this fight is being picked

Tor

Anonymous said...

We just pulled our kid out of SPS. 1 open seat now available at Ingraham High school... Bus em in.

BLM as a

Capacity solution

Mother of MS and HS students said...

Our country is all about respectfully disagreeing on policy But Disparaging unfounded and non-specific remarks like this below regarding people with whom you have political disagreements doesn't model healthy debate.

--> "The bad guys, like Gates, now say they care about equity and racism. They're lying."

If you disagree with how the Gates Foundation is approaching race and equity work or can point out where they are "lie", please share your specific disagreement with specific program or approaches. To call them (or anyone) liars with no specific information is following the debate approach of Donald Trump.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Tor, SEE and SEA have played this story up nationwide and now no media can come in and see? That's pretty odd. Most media don't cover stories off of press releases and other people's photos.

Some Soup for Teachers folks directed me to PTA websites which had some information - but nothing specific. But I haven't found a single school webpage that even has this on their calendar. It's not even on the district's calendar.

But it certainly saves me time and effort. No need to cover this event unless there's either an invite from the district or breaking news.

Moving on.

Just sayin said...

Maybe it's worth considering the following--on which I think most of agree on. Does the decision to address and tackle racial inequity important? Yes! Is it important to teach our children to understand institutional racism, inequity, and how "history" still matters/implicit racism/whit privledge/etc...Now consider--is it "newsworthy" that educators in seattle are addressing/confronting/tackling these issues head on in a way that is relevant "now"? Yes. Are these conversations conversations comfortable? No! Do these conversations require courage and vulnerability? Yes! Have teachers/schools participating in candid & courageous conversations been protected and understood by all members in our community (families, supervisors, media, etc...)? No! Does opening this event create a liability or potential negative experience for students, staff, district? Yes! Does allowing "sympathetic" or "progress" media outlets coverage create an issue while not allowing more conservative media access? yes! Are these conversations easy for our teachers, our community, etc? No! Do these conversations create controversy? Yes!! That is part of why it is so important, right? These conversations both reveal and challenge our mates and values... just google it. Better yet, search "social equity education black lives matter seattle" in Facebook and you will come up with "coverage" from social "media" slamming and questioning this-- pull your kids out, blue lives matter, donning a white t-shirt... it is sad and sickening. But, if the district were to allow media coverage in their schools would this open up hostile coverage that would put our teachers, community, social justice and movement to closing an opportunity gap at risk? After all, it would not be equitable to only allow media coverage that would mirror these values... this is why equity and equality remain to be an issue-- lack of understanding, threatening of the staid quo. We need to creat a safe place for schools and students to have these conversations, with the hope and mindset that some day it will not require courage or risk.,.

Just sayin said...

Btw-- I also understand the frustration in the lack of communication and access to clear information regarding this event. I was only trying to point out that site/teacher//student specific "coverage" might undermine or put the intended outcome at risk by focusing on controversy rather than courage...as far as I know, this action is precedent setting & is not necessarily comfortable for many. Direct coverage and interpretation may backfire due to the very nature of the "conversation": I think the after hours rally would be the most appropriate opportunity for media coverage as it will provide an opportunity for community dialogue. I hope that this is covered!

Anonymous said...

Sigh...didn't the district already clarify the use of Courageous Conversations curriculum in the classroom? (hint: it is not board approved for classrooms) Perhaps the district knows they have no control of what teachers will say in the classroom and absolutely want no more litigation from irate parents. The carefully crafted Seattle Times article makes it pretty clear:

"Black Lives Matter At School also coincides - but is not connected - with the school district's "day of unity," aimed at bringing more attention to racial equity in education.

As a public institution, Seattle Public Schools doesn't take official positions on social or political movements, district spokesman Luke Duecy said in a statement.


Who is quoted in the article? SEE spokesperson, Hagopian. And there you have it. To think I believed the district might be trying to protect our children when they shut out the media. Now I think they are only trying to protect themselves and publicly distance themselves from their activist teachers.

cynical parent

Anonymous said...

Hale has a Black Lives Matter club that any student can join. It was started by a student at Hale last year. Any activities at Hale for the event today are probably being organized by this club.

HP

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you understand the difference between students organizing at school and outside of class and teachers promoting a political movement at school.

cynical parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

So why play the event up? Why this big build-up? (But I note the district only has some bland tweets this morning and nothing, absolutely nothing, about this event which you think would be a very big deal.

I personally will not be putting up any information coming out of the day unless it comes from media. I not sure I trust press releases to tell the full story. The rally is just a orchestrated show and I won't be covering it.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's what the West Seattle blog tweeted:

"We plan to cover the demonstration outside Sealth at 7:50 tomorrow morning. The Black Student Union invited us (as they did with one of their anthem protests at a recent game). We would no more ask permission for this than we do to show up at a game across the street at SWAC (which is also district property). If it were indoors we'd check in at the front desk, but really, if we get ANY flack we will raise holy hell. Schools are public places."

Now I am not in the position as regular media and I don't particular care to go to a school and get turned away so I won't be going. But I will track any media coverage and report that.

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

How can we find out what was/is really going on. By that I mean, who knew what and when and who were making the people making decisions. Can we get documents or are we at the districts mercy?

Pissed Parent

Anonymous said...

Interesting data base from Washington Post showing who is being killed by police in 2016. Tool has filters to review gender, race, age, etc.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings-2016/

WS Parent

Anonymous said...

I've realized that much of my reaction to this Black Lives Matter event at the schools, as well as other BLM events, is triggered by 1) my experience of being personally threatened as well as having my kids bullied and threatened by black kids; 2) my fears for relatives and others in law enforcement during Black Lives Matter protests and riots; 3) my experience of having lived in a city during widespread African-American rioting.

I've been surprised to find similar misgivings even among very liberal friends due to the experience of being victimized in the past. It's even harder when you have been in situations where it seemed that a student was not disciplined for an egregious violation of school rules because it would affect the "disproportionality" of the discipline statistics at the school. I know those numbers would hurt the school administrators' careers, but it engenders resentment because it's just not fair.

It's hard to advocate for a group on the basis of their oppression when you and your loved ones have been their victims. That might not be fair, as there may be real injustices that happen, but that's the reality. This issue is so much bigger than a simple slogan and it's hurtful when it's reduced to a slogan that we are all expected to agree with.

And if it's hurtful for me as an adult, it's much more hurtful and confusing to kids, which means that there is real damage done when the teachers are the ones promoting it during the school day.

I also worry that it empowers kids who are bullying other kids to do it even more, since the bullies are excused by being "the oppressed ones".

I have the feeling that many other people have similar experiences, but don't speak up for fear of being labelled "racist". But silence does not lead to real justice or reconciliation.

KeptMum

Anonymous said...

@Pissed parent

What parents can do is email publicrecords@seattleschools.org

Make a freedom of information request (FOIA) for information about the events, or you can ask for emails or any other type of communication from ANY public school employee.

Do you want to see what you child's teacher my have been told by district administrators? then simply ask for those emails.

I think anyone who feels blindsided by the district should send in a FOIA request as a sign of protest. By law they must respond.

FOIA protest

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you KeptMum for being aware of what you're feeling and thinking and where it's coming from. It's important to be aware of how our past experiences shape our current perceptions. And it's important for whites to realize that those kinds of personal experiences are what blacks and other people of color experience so much more frequently than we do, and even more, within institutional systems everywhere they look. For the most part whites don't experience the institutional injustices that blacks and other people of color experience in our country.

So I believe we have to get past our own still-painful feelings from experiencing being a victim and advocate for those who experience it daily and in systems where the stakes are so much higher than our occasional experiences. Maybe we can turn our individual experiences of being victimized into a way that engenders empathy for what others face far more often?

One of the many effects of the BLM movement is to help whites see that we will all be better off if blacks can feel like their lives mattered in this country as well.
- It's Institutional

Anonymous said...

"we have to get past our own still-painful feelings from experiencing being a victim and advocate for those who experience it daily "

In other words, your experiences don't fit their narrative!

Remember this is coming from those who came up with EBONICS.

Now instead of EBONICS they are using SOCIAL JUSTICE, same message just a different term to deflect from their own short comings.

Horse water

Anonymous said...

KeptMum, suggest you get help. Mean that in the most sincere way. PTSD affects people differently and you need to know your trigger.

Some experiences are slow burn like being black or brown and being pulled over and given the 3rd degree over and over, watching how people demand proof of where you live, being asked personal questions when there's no need for it in a store, being told incomplete info or wrong info which result in delays in getting paperwork in on time, but see others get correct info. I experienced some of this when I went to a WAMU mortgage lending office about a home loan and was met by an unfriendly receptionist who had us wait for an 1 1/2 hr to see a mortgage rep. One banker after passing us multiple times during the wait, finally stopped and asked us what we were there for. We told him of our interest and the look on his face was priceless. He apologized profusely and took care of us immediately. We bought our first home through him. Never dealt with the receptionist again. We had similar experience after moving to Seattle and went into an insurance agency to change our car insurance and get apt. rental insurance. The agent made a big deal with our application and explain to us it was because of some scam where "Asian or Mexican" drivers would work together to cause minor fender bender to get insurance money. It was not a friendly meeting. We didn't use them for our insurance. Went to another agency and it was easy peasy. I can go on. Whether it's dealing with landlords, neighbors, fellow parents, teachers, co workers, or bosses, there are these little moments, too many to remember. They do pile on. They are more frequent than the scary moments thank goodness. You teach your kids how to deal.

This type of stuff are small daily things, but grind people down and shape their outlook. When kids see it happening to their parent, then an older sibling, then to themselves, it chips away at hope, self worth, and makes kids question and become distrustful. For others, some experiences are more traumatic which just punctuate the slow burn.

There's a lot of distrust here. Not a joyful place to be.

Mayberry

Melissa Westbrook said...

Pissed Parent, well, the Superintendent made the decision to allow this in schools. Beyond that it was organized by SEE and approved by SEA. My impression is the Board was left out of the loop.

Anonymous said...

WS Parent- What's very important and missing is socioeconomic data & neighborhood demographics.
-TP

Anonymous said...

@Mayberry

And don't forget the well intentioned white progressives that are consistently reminding black students they require their help in order to succeed. I suspect the receptionist was a liberal progressive and was waiting for your interpreter to arrive.

Horse water

Anonymous said...

Mayberry- Thank you for sharing your experience to help others understand. Racism really sucks. In addition, to challenging racism BLM, we need a national movement in my opinion for economic investments and educational investments in all poor and working class communities. The wealthy are getting richer, middle class shrinking and poor are pitted against the working and middle class.
-TP

Anonymous said...

@Mayberry

Not buying what you're selling, but nice try. I think was your very white vernacular "easy peasy" that tipped your hat.

I suggest you get help, do you get paid to troll?

horse water

Anonymous said...

Humm so the Board had no hand in this BLM support decision.

The Board needs a new policy that states the Board must be consulted before having the SPS support partisan political action during the school day.

Good to know that the Superintendent and teachers are the deciding actors in making this decision. (Board apparently can wash hands in regard to any responsibility for the BLM decision).

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

This entire BLM situation strikes me as bizarre.

Courts have ruled that teachers may not use time during the contract day to pass school levies or (I believe) devote time to other political activities.

Bewildered.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in hearing what it was like for teachers who chose not to outwardly support BLM at their school. It seems like an ideological litmus test for school staff - if you wear the shirt, you pass, but if you don't you will be considered suspect. I wonder what an organization like FIRE, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, would think of the situation (they are focused on higher education).

https://www.thefire.org/victory-for-freedom-of-conscience-as-university-of-minnesota-backs-away-from-ideological-screening-for-ed-students-2/

-freedom of conscience

Anonymous said...

I would like to keelhaul the entire school board for not stopping this.

Bootsie

Anonymous said...

Horse water, school me then. Tell me how you can differentiate race of writers on this blog? I haven't been able to unless people declare it.

I love learning languages. Love learning the vernacular, slang, double entendre, evolution of words and phrases, the dialects, regional usage, urban vs. rural. Does that make me white on this blog? Can I use humdinger? Been dying to kill that one. How should a non-white person sound?

You know what, horse water, meet me. After work, I can be at central library, this Saturday at 12:30, 4th floor entrance (by the bus schedule kiosk) and you can tell me to my face how I should speak. I'm not selling; so this won't cost you a thing. I'll even buy you coffee. Our password can be easy peasy.

Mayberry

Melissa Westbrook said...

Bootsie, the Board couldn't have stopped it. They could have expressed concern but no, they couldn't have stopped it.

Those of you who are taunting each other, go away. Now.

Anonymous said...

I'm printing up my T-Shirt for my daughters 3 grade assembly.

It's has a depiction of an unborn baby twisting frantically in the horror of being ripped apart by an abortionist. The caption read "Please mommy help me ...I love you mommy...good bye.

I will be handing out talking points to all the kids and plan on following up with a identify the baby body parts game.

Thank BLM for opening up my world.

Jesus

Anonymous said...

I would like SPS to teach my students that education and hard work matters.
-just me

seattle citizen said...

Thanks, It's Institutional and Mayberry, for sharing your experiences.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps England regretted his original authorization and that is why the SPS has been silent.

This hardly strikes me as competent leadership.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Sabotaged by spell check above
Nyland not England.

-- Dan Dempsey

Jet City mom said...

Jesus, could you print up a few Nasty Woman t shirts for me while you are at it?