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Over the last 15 months since taking over as President of the Loudoun County NAACP, our organization has watched Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) flail its way through a series of racially charged issues with seeming abstinence to the fact that there is a community out here that is not only impacted by its decisions, but, more importantly is paying attention to those decisions.  As with the attempt to name a public school after a long dead racist segregationist or the perceived effort to re-segregate schools in Leesburg; it seemed that the decision makers in LCPS either believed that the residents were not paying attention to their proposals or that maybe they could not read or conduct basic research on the facts.  Either way, in both instances, when the public raised concerns, some of these decision makers decided to attack the people questioning these proposals instead of listening to the community’s concerns. 

To some, this same mentality seemed to creep into the debate regarding the fact that Loudoun County Public Schools has a student population of 48 percent minority, but, a teacher workforce of 88 percent white.  Again, when the public raised its concerns, certain elements of the LCPS leadership tried to say, “oh it’s no big deal”, look at the Asian students they are doing well.  Once again, the assumption seemed to be that the public would not understand that this was not a “student” issue, but, that this was an “employment” issue; being that LCPS was one of the largest employers in the County. 

Recently, the NAACP was approached by a parent of a LCPS student who received a series of messages from another LCPS student that included racially charged rhetoric.  When she approached the school leadership, namely the Principal, the parent felt her concerns were not properly addressed and that she and her son were treated as if they caused the problem.  The parent and I went before the School Board two weeks ago and provided the message which included for African Americans the most racially charged word that can be leveled at us “nigger.”  The Parent and I demanded and expected some level of response, namely that LCPS leadership would make a clear and an unequivocal statement that this word used in any context would not be tolerated in Loudoun County Public Schools period.

Of course, we felt that once we put forward the nature of the communication, someone on the Board or LCPS Administration would have immediately understand the public relations element and make a statement that this language was reprehensible and would not be tolerated.  To date, we have not heard any such public utterance, although I understand, after some discussion with LCPS leadership, some kind of statement may be made at the May 10, 2016 School Board Meeting.  However, this goes back to my initial comment, that on issues involving anything involving race, the LCPS Leadership continues to flail away.

Unfortunately for LCPS, these issues are not going to get any easier.  Individuals aligned with the “Educate Don’t Segregate” movement have filed a complaint with the Department of Justice requesting an investigation of LCPS.  The Loudoun County NAACP is also privy to the fact there are problems within the MSAAC organization regarding alleged heavy headiness from LCPS officials and questions related to the “real mission” of that organization.  The teacher hiring issue is being closely watched, as are the applications of a number of extremely qualified minorities who have applied for positions at LCPS.  There are also questions relating to the Loudoun Douglass Alternative School and the fact that the student population at that school is consistently over represented by minority students.  Lastly, there are the continued disciplinary and achievement gap issues that are documented, factual and persistent.

The bottom line is that it is time for LCPS to stop flailing at these issues and to actually try to address them.  The easiest one is the racially charged language.  A clear statement has to be made on this issue.  As Martin Luther King said; “He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”  LCPS should not in any way be seen as being complacent on the use of the “n” word.  LCPS also needs to embrace the questions and the criticisms raised by the community on the other issues outlined above.  We know that the solutions are not easy, but, to always take the defensive and attack the messengers does nothing toward solving the questions.  The bottom line is that the NAACP and others in this community are ready to help.  We stand ready and extend our hand to help LCPS address these problems.  A few months ago at an LEA Meeting, Dr. Williams, the LCPS Superintendent, stated that I as NAACP President was welcome at the School Board Administration Building at any time.  Dr. Williams, I want to let you know that I am still waiting for my invitation to meet with you in your building and discuss these issues.     
             

Editor’s note:

At the School Board’s meeting on May 10, Superintendent Eric Williams addressed the racial incident that occurred between two LCPS high school students. He said LCPS has “little recourse” in incidents that happen between students outside of school. He added that hateful language is viewed as “intolerable” by LCPS and it is the school system’s goal to “empower all students to make meaningful contributions to the world.”

 

Phillip Thompson

Loudoun County NAACP President

Comments


So nice of LTM to censor comments on the editorial/LTE page!


Yea @scottva that’s the most bullied group in America, blond haired blue eyed Christian kids.  Bullied at school, targeted by the police, last hired, first fired, rejected in housing, not admitted to University, yep that’s the group.


Mr. Thompson, I’ve got news for you, this racial rhetoric goes both ways.  Doesn’t make it right or just it just is.  What about white students that are actively targeted by blacks, asians and Muslims simple because they have blonde hair and blue eyes. This is reality in 7th grade at a middle school in Ashburn.  I don’t care who you are, racial charged comments are wrong, regardless.  You sir have a very powerful platform and are able to defend black people when this type of crap surfaces, which is fine and it’s nice to see blacks have someone like you in their corner.  What are white, blonde haired, blue eyed kids supposed to do?  White’s don’t have any platform or means to defend their kids because they will automatically be called a racist.  And, when it comes to Muslims, people cannot say boo without being called an Islamophobic.  News flash, Christianophobia is very real in our society and if you happen to be white and christian you have a double whammy.  What is a white Christian to do?


The phone works both ways Philly!

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