Thursday, March 22, 2012

Student Told to Sound 'Blacker'

Jordan Shumate, a ninth grader at George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Virginia says that his English teacher told him to read in a "blacker manner". The teacher had him reading Langston Hughes' "Ballad of the Landlord" aloud, when she interrupted him. "She told me, 'Blacker, Jordan. Come on, blacker. I thought you were black."

After he refused to continue she read it herself to show him what she meant. Shumate says, "She read the poem like a slave, basically". When he asked whether she thought all black people speak that way, he says she told him to take his seat and that he was reprimanded for speaking out of turn.

The poem was written in 1940 about a black tenant thrown in jail for challenging a landlord.

"It's very, very unprofessional," Shumate continued. "It should not happen. She didn't do it to any other kids. Why did she have to do it to me?"

Jordan brought the issue to his mother's attention after he said the teacher singled him out again during a lesson about stereotypes. Shumate said he was asked to explain why blacks like grape soda and rap music. His mother, Nicole Page, that she is "very sad for her child's loss of innocence" because of the ordeal. Page added that the teacher had also previously asked the student to rap out a poem by black rapper and actor Tupac Shakur.

11 Year Old Removed From Choir for Refusing Drug Test

The American Civil Liberties Union is filing a lawsuit against Solanco School District, in Pennsylvania on behalf of an eleven year old girl and her parents.

The student attends Swift Middle School, and was removed from choir and the orchestra, as well as banned from athletic and academic teams, because she refused to give a random urine test.

The district's policies require that every student pass drug tests, before they can take part in school activities other than classes. The family and ACLU say that the policy violates privacy rights under the state constitution and are requesting that a judge prevent the enforcement of the policy.

While it does seem a little ridiculous for kids of that age to have to pass drug tests for even things such as choir, that is the district's policy. The policy may be a little too tough, but it does seem fair.

Also, I'm very much wondering, what an eleven year old has to hide from them. Why is she afraid to take the test? To me that would at least suggest she is taking drugs, and doesn't want to be caught. Or it could be she really just was uncomfortable doing so.