Displayed in the front hall at Albemarle County’s Cale Elementary School. Teacher posted, administration approved.

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. The African tribal leaders sold their ancestors to the slave traders from New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Is and Delaware.

    How about the 1.5 million white Europeans stolen by Barbary Coast (North Africa) pirates?

  2. How does this sign foment dissension instead of only disagreement? I get and agree with the critique that it wrongly suggests whites alone were guilty of abducting and enslaving.

    After the murder of Yeardley Love, I heard a sermon in which the speaker pointedly noted that he himself could have committed that murder, and that each of us could have done so. That was true wisdom. We are all sinners, and only by the grace of God and circumstances do we not commit real evil. This basic biblical insight is almost completely lacking among today’s Social Justice Warriors. Not that I hear it much on the “Christian” Right either.

    But disagreement needn’t “lead to discord.” If this does, that’s on you guys.

  3. Good Afternoon, Rob:

    The Cale school poster displayed on your blog is being removed this afternoon.

    This poster was one of several created by a committee of school employees to honor the valuable and lasting contributions of Black thought leaders, artists, business and community leaders and educators to our nation. In fact, this specific poster became disruptive to the learning environment.

    As you know, National African American History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing a vital people’s role in U.S. history. The reasons for all of us to engage with our school communities in this important celebration are too numerous to articulate here, but the main reason is to empower all students to see themselves for the important human beings they are. As an additional note: annually, the Cale community celebrates National African American History Month with a gathering on February 27th.

    I was not made aware of the presence of the poster until this morning, and it is clear to me that the poster was not bringing the Cale community together in a spirit of inclusivity and celebration, nor did it reflect the school’s and our division’s values of young people, excellence, respect and community.

    A poster or any school display should not detract from the importance and integrity of the school’s purpose to provide high quality teaching and learning and the best experience possible for children, staff, and families, every day.

    Sincerely,

    Matt Haas

  4. How does the truth sow dissent? Terribly disappointed that it was taken down. The truth is uncomfortable, but we must be able to look at it.

  5. Dear Community Members,

    I’m posting this message as an update to my earlier post. Thank you, Rob, for providing this venue.

    I’ve received numerous emails offering different responses to our decision to remove the “They didn’t steal slaves” poster. I welcome and appreciate the community engagement, as I firmly believe that openly sharing diverse viewpoints provides a positive opportunity for discovery and growth.

    We decided to take down the poster not because its message was untrue or unworthy of discussion, but because it unfortunately generated a contentious environment that undermined its value. It became clear that in order for the poster’s message to educate and inspire, we educators needed to provide some age-appropriate context and facilitate thoughtful, cooperative conversations with students. Essentially, the poster by itself, without a supplemental and common lesson, missed its mark.

    The message, as you may know, originally surfaced last year when a middle school math teacher in Mississippi decorated her classroom door with words inspired by author and poet Nadine Drayton-Keen. While I personally feel the message is both true and compelling, its presence at Cale/Mountain View, one of our pre-K through Grade 5 elementary schools, spawned destructive confrontations between students who obviously lacked the mature perspective to understand the intent of the message.

    While we decided to remove the poster, that was not our final action. With the guidance of the school division’s anti-racism policy and Dr. Bernard Hairston, our Assistant Superintendent for School Community Empowerment, the school’s administrative team is currently collaborating with their Black History Month Committee to evaluate the poster, assess the situation, and determine next steps. Among their goals are uncovering misunderstandings and misconceptions, considering all perspectives, and leveraging culturally responsive teaching and experiences to benefit students, the school, and the community as a whole.

    The words from that middle school classroom door poignantly and candidly emphasize the atrocity of the institution of slavery and its ravagement of human potential. It is as factual as it is emotional. As public school educators, we need to be thoughtful about our handling of such topics, especially with our youngest and most impressionable students.

    Thank you to the many of you who have taken the time to reach out and share your perspective with me. Where there is diverse community engagement, there is hope that we are collectively supporting a healthy learning community.

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