Thurgood Marshall wrote: “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody — a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns — bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”
But what if you have no boots? The chilling reality in education is that some Black children are being denied boots in the first place. The only true way out and up for any child, Black or White, is education. But when purposefully denied, the eventual result is no job, and if no job, no housing for family.
The treatment of African American school children in Minnesota has too long been frightening and chilling. Far too many educational “leaders” choose to remain silent. The real “bosses” are the tails that wag the dog: the supersized education bureaucracies spending budgets on themselves and not on students and their education.
In late November 2012, rumors began to emerge from Green Central that the school’s very respected and committed LPN, Mrs. Mia Meyers, in her letter of resignation, laid out serious allegations of acts of hostility directed towards her because of her calling attention to Green Central’s refusal to take into account student health.
Mrs. Meyers could no longer stand by quietly as the school refused to address the volume and the severity of the students’ medical needs. Terms she used, red flags anywhere else in the civilized free world, include “medical fragileness of students,” “volume and severity of student medical needs,” “to improve the medical condition to facilitate education goals is not her [the principal’s] priority.” The school district’s response? Cover up, suppress the investigation into the allegations, and break Minnesota law by withholding the allegations from the Board of Education. Mrs. Meyers told me of her commitment and passion to both the children and to her professional obligations, which was met with an intimidating atmosphere inside Green Central directed to those who raise questions about fairness and inequality. I was involved in a direct conversation two weeks ago with an assistant superintendent who pretended they had no idea about the resignation, and attempted to convince us that the LPN was still on the premises.
Parents at Green Central have no clue as to how their children are being medically dealt with, mistreated, abandoned, and being subjected to a dangerous medical environment. Green Central has gained the reputation, medically, as Minneapolis’ Tuskegee Project of the 1930s.
The situation in the Bloomington Public School District is equally frightening and chilling. A Black guardian appointed by the court for a seven-year-old Black child who lives in the city of Bloomington was told two weeks ago that the child is not welcome in the Bloomington Public School District. The Black guardian, a representative of the court, was told that if the child was brought to school on Wednesday, January 2, that the African American child would be arbitrarily suspended and not allowed to cross the doorway. This heartbreaking story reminded me of George Wallace standing in the University of Alabama doorway, saying this child shall not pass. Can you imagine a seven- year-old White child being called a terroristic threat and denied by White educators?
This is happening in greater frequency in Minnesota. In the case of this seven-yearold child, the decision has been made that the Bloomington Public Schools will continue to receive state aid that follows every child, but that the Black child, in the tradition of Bilbo, George Wallace and Strom Thurmond, will be denied.
This Black guardian is willing to battle the system but needs support. Will Black leadership and Black organizations step up for Black children? The Bloomington Public School District rationale to the student’s guardian and attorney: the Black child is a bad seed. Black America has heard that before. What is being said in Bloomington and in Green Central is that Black children are never too young to have their rights violated and their future abused.
For legal reasons, neither child nor guardian is being identified yet. We wait to see if any organization or leader, including legislative leadership, has the heart and the guts to support children that are being abused, whose rights are being trampled on and whose futures are no longer guaranteed.
God bless Black Minnesota, for we are in a titanic struggle for the life and future of our children, the future of us all.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www. BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www. TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.