Too many “Whys” after Harrison beating

The May 25 Minneapolis Star Tribune provided great detail regarding the “savage” May 22, 2018 beating of Mohammed Dukuly by 18-year-old Corey Burfield, which was caught on surveillance video.

Dukuly, originally from Liberia, is a long-term employee of the Minneapolis Public School system’s Harrison Educational Center in North Minneapolis. He is a nephew of an Imam at a mosque in Brooklyn Center.

Eighteen-year-old Burfield is a White supremacist affiliated with a neo-Nazi faction. He has become a poster child for the Aryan Nation that applauds his website, his action, and his newly found reputation and perceived political power. This perception is chilling.

Harrison Educational Center is part of the district’s “Acceleration 2020 strategic plan,” working along with the Office of Black Male Student Achievement (“Every child college and career ready”). It conducted a Special Education Opportunities Review, saying it instituted changes to special education services and support throughout the school district. We are not so sure, being reminded of the old saying that “the road to hell is lined with good intentions.”

Others have also been attacked at Harrison in “weeks of terror,” and yet, too many incident reports are not made, despite district claims to the contrary. The court cited this absence of written incident reports regarding Burfield, which provided leverage the court needed to release Burfield without bail and to allow Burfield’s mother to supervise his release.

Burfield has a criminal record of violence – he is a Level 5 offender in public schools. His website shows a history of racial animus and hatred. Why was he allowed to transfer from St. Paul to Minneapolis public schools, and now released without bail?

Londel French, another special education assistant at Harrison, was assaulted by Burfield on May 15. French wants to know why the county attorney has not indicated these acts are hate crimes.

Amy Smith, a chemical dependency specialist at Harrison, was also assaulted by Burfield. There is no incident report on her attack and no discussion of it. Why?

Why did the county attorney claim concern about the attacks, and yet did not protest the releasing of Burfield without bail, especially given Burfield’s posts on his web page expressing great hatred for Black people, in general, and Black Africans, in particular?

So, we struggle with “why” the beatings?  One answer/excuse given is that the Black victims violated Burfield’s “White space”, causing him to react aggressively.

Equally perplexing: Why the White district court judge based the ruling on information by some members of the Black community that Burfield was just a misunderstood autistic individual?

Why the school superintendent’s comment that the attacks “highlights the need for mental health support, affordable housing and employment for troubled students” — blaming society without also commenting on the responsibility of both the school district and its individual administrators and teachers on one hand, and individual students on the other.

And, why has the Black community, by and large, been equally silent about the hateful nature of Burfield, the new hero of the Aryan Nation?

Finally, former Harrison Principal Monica Fabre, attacked in 2016, detailed her charges in a May 2016 letter to the U.S. Department of Education, urging its Office for Civil Rights to investigate the district’s “discriminatory practices” that contributed to the district’s “failing Harrison and its students” and for its “lack of administrative support.”  She questioned why Harrison is too often “a warehouse for students with needs that too often went unaddressed,” including “educational services.”

Why, indeed.

Stay tuned.