America’s Schools Must Have Zero Tolerance for Racist Teachers and Board Members

Shaun King, NY Daily News, December 30, 2016

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Let me be abundantly clear—if you are in a position of authority over children, if you are making decisions about the future of their education, and it is determined that you are a racist, or have committed a racist act, your employment should be immediately terminated.

School boards and governing bodies must have full, swift, unrestricted access to terminate the employment of bigots. They do not belong in a school system. Bigotry is fundamentally dangerous.

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On Thursday evening in Buffalo, N.Y., the local school board voted 6-2 to boot Carl Paladino from their board unless he resigns. That two people still supported him, despite his outrageous bigotry, is a painful sign of our times. Paladino, who was also co-chair of Donald Trump’s New York campaign for President, recently compared First Lady Michelle Obama to a gorilla and stated that he hoped she would be “let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe” to join other gorillas in caves in 2017.

How in the hell did this man openly and publicly say such a thing and still get two votes of confidence from his fellow board members? It’s outrageous. He should’ve been terminated immediately. That he still has a job a week later is a new insult in and of itself. If nothing else, it strongly suggests that school systems simply do not take racism seriously.

A similar fight is going down right now in Arkansas over yet another openly bigoted white man on a school board. This time, the man openly dressed in full blackface, with fake rotten teeth, and a sign that read “Blak Lives Matter.” Yes, the “c” was left out on purpose. What he did should’ve warranted his immediate termination, but he’s been fighting it off for months now. A man who is so willing to be that offensive and racist has no place making any decisions on the education of any children.

Another white school board member was found to be posting outrageously racist and bigoted memes on Facebook. This time, the board member was in Roseville, Mich., and is the Vice President of the board. A man could not post what he posted about Muslims and African Americans and treat everyone fairly. His posts revealed how he thinks of Muslims and black folk. Again, he should’ve been removed or fired immediately, but people are instead arguing for his freedom of speech.

{snip} If you are racist, and you act on your racism, you do not deserve any position inside of a school system. PERIOD!

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