Ears on the Board of Education: May 27, 2021
by Diane Payne
Just two days before this meeting, two more District students were felled by gunfire. Several others had been killed in recent months. Yet the only acknowledgement made by President Joyce Wilkerson was one part of this sentence: “Before we begin today, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of two of our students yesterday due to gun violence and while we acknowledge this tragic event, I don’t want to lose sight though that we have things to celebrate within the district as well.” She then went right into graduating seniors’ accomplishments. Wilkerson failed to honor the slain students by name, and she failed to note that one of the slain students himself was a graduating senior. These students did not “pass”. They were murdered. Why did Wilkerson spend so little time honoring these fallen students? Neither she nor Dr. Hite addressed the trauma of the surviving classmates, teachers, and families or what, if anything, the District is doing to help them. The rest of the Board remained silent. Board Action Meetings should open with a reading of the names of students we have lost and a moment of silence to remember them. Say their names now: Nasir Marks. Kanye Pittman. Please give them a moment of your silent reflection.