I am writing this letter to inform you of the justification of racial slurs and derogatory speech that continuously exists in school today. Despite blood, sweat and tears dedicated to creating a safe space for all individuals regardless of their social markers, a school prinicpal at Montclair Public School in Oakville finds that provoking a student justifies a retaliation of derogatory terms.
This week, a black male student in the eigth grade asked a white female student in the same grade why she was in school just to disrupt the lesson. She responded by calling him a nigg*r.
The student was shocked that that was her response.
In a way, I can understand a young student using those words to insult someone because they know it is wrong, yet they do not fully understand the history of the super charged derogatory term. We can spare the debate here on who can and cannot use the word. It is clear that she called him that as a weapon to retaliate.
The parent of the male student spoke with Prinicipal Kelly Hughes-Allen of Montclair Public School. She is the new principal of the school beginning in the 2013-2014 school year.
Huges-Allen mainly focused on how her son was the instigator and that he provoked being called a nigger. Victim blaming much?
On August 28th, 2013, Huges-Allen posted a message onto the school's website that stated,
“I feel that it is my responsibility as principal to ensure your child receives a quality education within a safe, respectful environment. It is evident that Montclair is a school that thrives on positive parent and community partnerships. Working together only enhances your child’s educational experiences. I am very excited to be joining this community"
If it is her responsbility to ensure a respectful environment and her response was to blame the male student, then what is her definition of respectful?
The parent states that she teaches her son it is not right to use racial slurs, and the school is teaching him that it is okay. She understands that her son should not have said anything. However, regardless of what he said, what does him being black have to do with it? Why call him a nigg*r? Why justify and why believe that a lack of consequence will not have long term impact on how children perceive and understand hate speech?
The fact that the school is tolerating this behaviour is appalling. Are we allowed to behave in such ways because we were provoked? Last I checked, the same belief was applied the battered women. Apparently, they provoked their abusive husbands to beat them too.
As long as we're staying still...