That Ghetto School. . .

“I am not sending my baby back to that ghetto school.”

Says the black mom of the two black sons whose first names literally start with Mister and Sir, followed by regular old first names, no hyphens, no spaces, just Mister(Capitol Letter) name, all one word. Ravene Simone would say that she would not hire those boys simply based on their names. This Mom in her gorgeous red wig with her 3rd baby daddy sitting next to her, she tells me she “don’t want to send her babies back to the ghetto school 6 blocks up the road.

And when she says ghetto she means, Black

This whole conversation came up because her son will soon be exiting out of my intensive needs special education classroom which will result in a possible return to home or neighborhood school. This Mom would rather keep her son in a classroom that is academically holding him back and socially labeling him, ‘different’ then send him back to the other school, that is literally 5 minutes away.

Now lets be clear, I am NOT knocking this mom, she is looking out for those babies, when her son qualified for my class two years ago his siblings were grandfathered into our school so they could all stay together. Our school with the high performing test scores, the funding, the 30% free and reduced lunch, and the white students. Her sons get all of the privilege that comes along with that.

I am NOT knocking this Mom, I am knocking the system where the majority of the minority or low income students at my school are MY students, the ones who get placed there by the district for my programing, the students whose test scores don’t affect the school anyway. I am knocking the system that makes this mom tell her kids that school where all the kids go that look like them isn’t good enough. I am knocking the system that make this students brothers teacher want to push them back to their home school, because he is the problem child in her class.

In the 1960’s this school, in this neighborhood where I work was the center of a desegregation case in front of the Supreme Court. Bussing went in place, riots were had, an overwhelming number of the White students in the district were moved to suburban schools. In 1996 the bussing decree ended and students went back to attending their neighborhood schools, but the white students did not return. The majority race in my district is no longer Caucasian, but you wouldn’t know that in certain schools, the 30% are highly concentrated, in schools like mine.

So now over 40 years after the Supreme Court ordered that we all “get along” and at least go to school together, what has changed?

Well if you ask that Mom to tell you about that ghetto school down the road, you will learn. . . Not Much

Kelsi Rae

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