When students summoned the courage to disclose abuse, teachers and principals failed to alert child welfare investigators or police despite the state’s mandated reporter law.This made me reflect on my high school years when we had to watch out for R. Kelly and the school security guards and no one ever said anything. Seriously. Look, I know teachers and administrators have to juggle a lot during the school day and may even drop a ball or two. But it’s never OK to drop the ball on bullying, sexual assault or try to silence student voice. Ever! Kids these days are facing trauma at every turn. And if adults are buckling under the pressures of life then our kids are probably being crushed by them or even turning to suicide to escape. Teachers, this isn’t shade or me throwing the blame at you. This is just me pleading to you to really listen and take our kids’ cries for help seriously.
You tell our people their best prospect is to dedicate themselves to the preservation of schools that have harmed them for decades. That pitch is emotional, seemingly earnest and straight up suicidal. I’ll need you to stop.Sunday school, afternoon service and Bible study from Chris Stewart! https://giphy.com/gifs/king-of-pop-vaokkmMKZJlgA Y’all, education has become so politicized it’s sickening. And even those of us Black people who are fighting for our kids to have access to better education tend to fall on one side of the argument or the other, inadvertently doing the political bidding for teachers’ unions, school districts or billionaires for school choice. My people, we’ve been distracted and fighting battles that probably don’t even belong to us. Worse, it’s got us fighting with each other. Here’s the real talk, y’all. We can’t expect freedom to come from institutions that, historically, have oppressed us. Also, no one is going to work as hard to give us that freedom as we will. We really have to realize that the model of the school doesn’t matter nor does the method of delivery as long as our kids are being taught well. I’m glad that Chris said this. I’m glad that Black people are starting to wake up. We have to keep having these conversations, meet in the middle of the road and walk this journey together. That’s the most important and clearest path towards hope.
Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work—“If not me, then who?” As the former Deputy Director of Activist Development for brightbeam, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for change in the public education system. Her passion for community and relentless mission for justice and liberation drive her in uplifting and amplifying the voices and advocacy of those that are often ignored. Tanesha wholeheartedly believes that education is the foundation for success. Her grand vision is one where everyone—regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender or ZIP code—can have access to a comfortable quality of life and enjoy the freedoms and liberties promised to all Americans. And that's what she works towards every day.
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