Author Topic: Amid learning, Racial Fears  (Read 109 times)

Damon X Reppin ATL

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Amid learning, Racial Fears
« on: April 23, 2003, 05:51:01 AM »
A few of you would feel right at home here  ::)




Amid learning, racial fears
Edgewater: Slurs and death threats at a predominantly white high school in Anne Arundel County have alarmed black parents and students.
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By Laura Loh
Sun Staff
Originally published April 23, 2003


One morning last month - a few days after someone spray-painted a message threatening the lives of black students on a stairwell at South River High School - Ashley Scott decided not to get out of bed.

The 17-year-old African-American student told her mother that she wasn't returning to the school. She was tired of being where she felt unwelcome and, lately, afraid.

"Obviously, they don't want our presence there," said Ashley, a junior. "You can't get more blunt than that. ... I'm a black person, and they want me to die."

As many students think about final exams and summer vacations, the talk at this school in southern Anne Arundel County has been about a series of acts that underscore racial tensions in the community.

Three recent acts of vandalism - graffiti depicting swastikas, racial slurs and death threats - have alarmed parents and students, triggered a police investigation and prompted administrators to try to calm fears at this predominantly white school of more than 2,000 students.

At a news conference this month, Anne Arundel County school officials said such acts wouldn't be tolerated.

Thursday, the school detailed its response to the past year's racial incidents, including 24 suspensions and three expulsions, in a special-edition newsletter to parents and students.

"There has been a small group of individuals inside and outside the walls of this building that practice hate and divisiveness," Principal James Hamilton said. "Those individuals have gotten a very clear message that we find those acts outrageous and intolerable."

Some African-American parents say that the school hasn't done enough and that they are considering transferring their children.

Others are determined to hold their ground. After the first graffiti incident last month, several families formed a support group, Parents Against Unlawful Harassment, to push for enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy on racism.

South River High is in Edgewater, a fast-growing community of suburban homes amid farms and wetlands on the opposite side of the South River from Annapolis. Area residents flock to its waterfront restaurants on weekends.

Racial tensions have flared before in schools south of the South River. Three years ago, black parents at Southern High School in Harwood complained to schools officials about racial slurs directed at their children and public references to lynching.

African-American leaders say they have been concerned about other racial incidents. In 2000, the county superintendent of schools at the time, who was black, received a racially charged death threat after she proposed temporarily moving pupils from mostly white Mayo Elementary to mostly black Annapolis Middle. No arrests were made.

More recently, some community leaders have expressed concern that race might be a factor behind neighborhood opposition to a predominantly black college's plans for a satellite campus in Edgewater.

The area is also home to a neo-Nazi group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such groups.

Anne Arundel school board President Michael J. McNelly, a former county police officer, said racial tensions are not new and don't represent the community as a whole.

"This has cropped up in this area over the years periodically," said McNelly, whose school district includes Edgewater. "There has always been a small pocket in that part of Anne Arundel County that are a zillion years behind the times. ... It has unfairly tainted South River High School."

Many students at South River - a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence that is 93 percent white and 4 percent black - say they had no idea that any racial problems existed until they learned of the graffiti incidents.

The school's 80 or so black students have been acutely aware of such problems.

Two years ago, several students and parents said, someone floated a rumor of a death threat against black students. Many students stayed home from school as a result. School officials said they were unaware of the incident.

In the fall, several white students showed up at school in clothes bearing the Confederate flag, leading to a fight.

School administrators worked to curb the problems. But last month, they were dismayed to find the racist threat scrawled in large black letters on the wall of a heavily used stairwell.

Police were summoned, and the school temporarily brought in extra staff members, police officers and parent volunteers to monitor the hallways. Administrators condemned the act and implemented sensitivity training for students.

Two more incidents followed. On April 5, swastikas were painted around the exterior of the school and a racial epithet on the front door. On April 14, students found racist graffiti in a hallway and on a speaker in the ceiling, school officials said.

Police investigators are treating the vandalism incidents as hate crimes and have offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible, said Officer Charles Ravenell, a county police spokesman. He declined to discuss details of the investigation.

Teachers union President Sheila Finlayson, who taught at the school for 25 years, said she often saw racist behavior by students go unpunished. A longtime substitute teacher who was black left the school several years ago after a student who insulted him wasn't disciplined, Finlayson said.

"I personally have been called names and told to go home," Finlayson said.

She said the school administration needs to come down harder on errant youngsters.

"It's scary to me that it has gotten to this point," Finlayson said. "Think about the stress to those kids who are there not knowing if people are going to hurt them or not. They're there to get an education, not to be threatened."

Experts say the only way to root out racial tensions in a school is for residents to take a stand against it.

"Unfortunately, a community will often close ranks and say, 'It's just a few bad apples,'" said Cheryl Hyde, a professor at the University of Maryland's school of social work. "But there have been examples of communities who have risen to the challenge and been very public in their support for diversity."

At a recent gathering of the support group, about 20 African-American students and parents discussed their concerns on condition of anonymity, saying they feared for their safety. They said thugs have visited two black students' homes this year, vandalizing one and brandishing weapons outside the other.

Students said they have endured insults, taunts, racist jokes and threats, and they say they feel they can turn to only a few teachers and administrators. Sometimes, they said, they have struck back at their harassers and have been punished.

"I've been called a [racial slur] at least 20 times," one girl said. "They don't have any shame. They don't care if they get beat up. They just come back and do it again."

Some say the racist statements have become more brazen and difficult to ignore.

"It's overwhelming for us," said the mother of an 11th-grader. "I personally don't have training to deal with this as a mother or as a human being."

The parents say they are going to demand that the school do more. They want a consistent system of suspending and expelling students who engage in racist behavior. They want a more diverse teaching staff. And they want offenders to be required to undergo sensitivity training.

School officials said they are working to help youngsters deal with the recent events.

A committee of teachers and students established last fall has been spreading an anti-harassment message. About 100 student "ambassadors" roam the halls, encouraging students to respect each other. And students plan to take lessons of tolerance to the elementary and middle schools that send students to South River.

"The students are angry about [the incidents], and they want to make a change," said Jodie Stugard, a foreign-language instructor who is a co-leader of the teacher-student committee.

For Ashley and others, any changes will be too little, too late. They've already given up on the school.

Next year, her senior year, Ashley plans to spend as little time as possible at South River. "I'm just taking one period [at the high school] next year and the rest of them at the community college," she said.



Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun
 

Quakaveli

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Re:Amid learning, Racial Fears
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2003, 07:48:51 AM »
A few of you would feel right at home here  ::)


Whose gonna take someone serious who thinks that a black MAN is ALlah, lmao  ::)
« Last Edit: April 23, 2003, 07:49:20 AM by Rap Quake »
 

KING VerbalAssaulta

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Re:Amid learning, Racial Fears
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2003, 12:33:08 PM »
enough of your dumb ass posts
 

King Tech Quadafi

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Re:Amid learning, Racial Fears
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2003, 12:36:33 PM »
^ the day you stop posting stupid pictures Right Nut, is the day u can tell Damon to stop doing what he does.
"One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. "Which road do I take?" she asked. "Where do you want to go?" was his response. "I don't know," Alice answered. "Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

- Lewis Carroll
 

KING VerbalAssaulta

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Re:Amid learning, Racial Fears
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2003, 04:46:35 PM »
dumb faghan  ::)
 

Now_Im_Not_Banned

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Re:Amid learning, Racial Fears
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2003, 09:03:29 PM »
Allah is African!! The white man is the devil!!
 

King Tech Quadafi

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Re:Amid learning, Racial Fears
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2003, 10:30:22 PM »
dumb faghan  ::)

Yes, congratulations. You officially have the greatest comebacks now. You should be proud of your linking abilities. Now run off Right Nut, Niks nuts need riding.
"One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. "Which road do I take?" she asked. "Where do you want to go?" was his response. "I don't know," Alice answered. "Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

- Lewis Carroll
 

Quakaveli

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Re:Amid learning, Racial Fears
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2003, 05:50:34 PM »
dumb faghan  ::)

Yes, congratulations. You officially have the greatest comebacks now. You should be proud of your linking abilities. Now run off Right Nut, Niks nuts need riding.

Poor faghan cant get shit right...:
Quote
Oh, so youve stopped suckin my dick, and now youre simply riding it. Let me know when u switch positions again, Left Nut.


I am confused... ???