SUSPEND/RETRAIN TEACHER WHO TOLD BLACK BOY HE'D BE LYNCHED BY CLASS

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Make Mason City Schools, Ohio, school Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline suspend and retrain Social Studies teacher Renee Thole, who told the only black boy in the class that “If you don’t get back on task, your friends are going to form an angry mob and lynch you.”  Make Kist-Kline put the money where her mouth is and follow up on her formal statement that the district will “invest in training and resources on culturally proficient practices for administrators, educators and classified staff members.” DO IT NOW, Superintendent!

Everyone admits and agrees that teacher Renee Thole told the sole black boy who his classmates would lynch him if he didn’t straighten out. Don’t let her stay in the classroom without implicit bias training and cultural competency training. A Social Studies teacher should know history and facts about the USA, but Thole clearly doesn’t appear to know that tens of thousands of actual US citizens were killed by white mobs lynching them. The district has not jumped into action, and needs some pressure to change what is acceptable in its public schools. If nothing is done, bias and discrimination will continue to be a problem.

The facts: In December, Agee-Bell met with Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline and other district officials, but nothing happened. She and other members of the district Diversity Council met with district officials, to no effect. Official statements in January still brushed off the event, showing no sensitivity to the seriousness of the lynching comment. On January 5th, a spokesperson for Mason Schools, Tracey Carson confirmed Agee-Bell’s version but at the time, Carson still explained away what happened as just a teacher who “misspoke” and “messed up.”  On Tuesday, January 9th, Agee-Bell tried to speak at a school board meeting, but officials asked to talk to her privately afterward instead, preventing a public response from the Board about the incident. When she did meet with them privately, the Board only bothered to talk with her for five minutes. Currently, the Superintendent statement doesn’t distinguish between “racially and culturally insensitive comments” occurring in the county and those made by actual school employees.

The Superintendent does, however, commit to action --- “We will continue to invest in training and resources on culturally proficient practices for administrators, educators and classified staff members that lift up our district's values.” Let’s pressure them to do so! Only 4% of the student body is black. They need to be served by well-trained publically-paid school Board, Administrators, teachers and staff!



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