America to Me Episode 2
Written by Danyaahla Israel on October 25, 2018
America to Me Part 2
October 24, 2018 By: Chanokh Israel
The title for episode two is “Stranger in the Room.” It can be easy to forget that Black and Hispanic students are not the only ones in our school systems that are subject to abuse, neglect, and exclusion. Many parents, staff, faculty, and administration struggle to find they’re placed in this system just as our students do.
“A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young:” Deuteronomy 28:50
Danielle Robinson was a former student at OPRF and now has a son that attends the suburban Chicago high school. Her experience as a young woman at OPRF was “a terror town” and all she wants for her son is an administration, faculty, and staff “to give him a chance.” She was placed in classes that she was not prepared for and was refused an elevator pass once returning to school after having a 13-pound tumor removed from her.
She, along with students like her were put in a classroom daily where they were fed candy, played pool, and watched Jerry Springer. “It was almost like jail, prepping you,” said Robinson.
Staff, faculty, and administration at OPRF do not have it any better. Anissa Molette is a Security Officer at OPRF. “Some white kids feel privileged and they may say ‘well we pay you,’” said Molette. A white student had previously passed by her without so much as an acknowledgment despite her many attempts to get his attention. “The parents say it 24/7,” said Joe Beard, another Security Officer at OPRF. The treatment of Black staff also comes at the hands of other school staff. “I came here speaking to everybody and found out real quick that 80% of the Caucasian staff members didn’t speak to me,” said another security officer. He is not alone. Black staff, faculty, and administration in our schools across the country receive the same treatment from their colleagues as those do at OPRF.
Every space has a culture and this school is grounded in white cultural norms. If I don’t show up thinking, talking, being, feeling white, specifically a white male in this building, there are repercussions connected to that. Some of the things that I experience as an administrator in this building, I feel more affinity to a Black girl (Danielle Robinson) in a classroom than other administrators,” said Dr. Chala Holland, an Assistant Principal at OPRF, who left for a Principalship during filming.
Even though these stories and events are being chronicled at OPRF, these experiences are commonplace in the vast majority of our schools in this country. There will be no stronger advocates for our children’s education than us as parents and as a nation. They need to know that you will be with them every step of the way.
“Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;” Zephaniah 2:1
When we come together as a people to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, our causes will be mainted, and we will be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all that hate us (Revelation 14:12, 1 Kings 8:49 and Luke 1:71).