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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: Relationships Between A Student & Teacher Must Be Valued

Posted Apr. 8, 2014, 9:45 am

Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor,

We the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) are concerned about the recent incident that occurred at Santa Monica High School, and we support the decision to place teacher/coach on leave and to launch a complete investigation of the incident.

As you may know, we take physical contact between teacher and student very seriously—especially when it appears that a protocol in place was not followed given that the district had security personnel on campus at the time of the incident.

Relationships between a student and a teacher must be valued.

The video that shows a portion of the incident is very disturbing. I and members of our executive committee believe that the teacher being placed immediately on leave was needed to sort things out.

In our recent memory, there have been at least three physical altercations between teachers and African American students, including this past Friday’s incident. And there was one additional incident in which an African American male wrestler was chained to a locker allegedly by white students who called out, “Slave for sale.”

This particular incident involved the failure of the teachers/coaches to report the incident to administration. It took an alert parent to inform the African American male student’s mother.

We are also concerned if this coach in the video and now on leave was involved in the wrestling noose incident with regards to improper reporting.

It is our expectation that a teacher will exercise judgment that is as good as is humanly possible.

There is no way that the NAACP would condone the use, sale, or possession of any illegal drugs on campus.

However, any use of physical restraint by a teacher of a student must be carefully examined. Even if a student has a challenged history at a school, humane treatment must always be exercised whenever possible towards all of our students.  

We appreciate Superintendent Sandra Lyon’s actions given the possible involvement of others, and the potential for the circumstance to escalate. She took an immediate, hands-on approach to control a situation. Given the video, an investigation serves everyone with regards to transparency and, at the very least, will make things better.


Darrell Goode

President, NAACP Santa Monica-Venice Branch

Post a comment


Apr. 8, 2014, 11:17:12 am

martin marteen said...

Of course tis is a race issue. Everything is a race issue. Race can not be kept out of any issue. What else do we have to do?

Apr. 8, 2014, 2:35:22 pm

jake said...

You are not mentioning the most important facts: the kid attacked the teacher with a pencil, his friends joined in the attack, and the kid was carrying a boxcutter which is a very dangerous weapon. Stop defending violent criminals and you will earn our respect!

Apr. 8, 2014, 3:52:24 pm

Joseph E Fitzsimons said...

What an absolute load of horse manure,

Apr. 8, 2014, 3:54:11 pm

Mark said...

I appreciate your position Darrell and I know you to be a fair person. I am aware of the other incident and knew that it might call things into question regarding Coach Black. Yet, these are two very different incidents. I also believe it would be easier to support the Superintendent if she had stated one clear position at the outset and had not unintentionally fueled the fire by stating that after viewing the video she believed that Coach Black's actions were "unacceptable." After that, she seemed to rethink her original position and apologize for causing anger. Now today, she is saying that her original statement was being "misconstrued" by the public and the press. She is tap dancing to a different tune every day. The simple statement of doing a proper investigation to determine what happened would have been enough. As of now, she has completely botched this for the District. She gets an F in Crisis Management.

Apr. 8, 2014, 4:58:12 pm

L. McCann said...

Thank you to the local NAACP Chapter for taking these issues to the next level. A level of dignity to which our community can learn from. L. McCann

Apr. 8, 2014, 6:28:56 pm

Jim said...

The portion of the video that I find "very disturbing" is that an 18 year old student and his gangster friends could even contemplate assaulting a teacher who was doing his job. The NAACP should call for an investigation of the dysfunctional homes that young men like this come from. If we could have an honest dialogue about THAT, only then will we see real advancement for people of color. Seems like the only time we hear from the NAACP is when they want to defend a violent criminal. Why not instead offer support and encouragement for the many really good kid?

Apr. 9, 2014, 7:43:40 pm

Todd said...

My kids go to SAHO and, unlike the parents of the assailants, who live outside of our district, we pay parcel taxes and bond servicing to support SMMUSD. Anyone selling drugs and assaulting teachers should be thrown out immediately -- irrespective of race. If the disruptive student lives in the district, s/he can go to Olympic. If not, Sayanora. Why on earth are our local tax dollars going to import thugs into our classrooms?

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