.At the close of last week Huffman ISD announced that it "will implement a Guardian Plan beginning the 2018-2019 school year." The district claims that the "safety of every student is a top priority for the Huffman ISD administration and Board of Trustees." Citing a year long review of safety plans and district facilities, they claim have researched options into "making every campus in our district the safest place possible for students and staff." One of the things many parents and allies have been concerned about is how will people be screened or monitored when entering school properties. Huffman's answer is makng use "well-controlled entrances on each campus and better utilizing our security resource officers, we have been working closely with the Harris County Sherriff’s Office (HCSO) to consider resources available to us with regard to school safety." But there is a bigger solution that they are proposing and it is one that I and many others have been warning against..... ARMING TEACHERS AND STAFF.
While this school system his a majority of white students, Black and Brown students face a very real danger. The emphasis that they place on working with HCSO is not very comforting given their racist track record. As this Facebook post went viral among locals, the comments section lit up like a christmas tree. One comment in particular really stood out to me because the district representative over the account decided to reply as the district. Below are screenshots from the thread and the responses from the district are quite problematic...
These responses on behalf of Huffman ISD came from Dr. Shirley Dupree their Executive Director of Human Resources and Communications. Her stance and projection throughout the exchange screams "PROTECT THE CHILDREN," BUT it seems more personal than well thought out. Aside from the "I" statements Dr Dupree seems to be intent on moving forward and even gave the impression that the plan had already been at play. Not only is this sickening, it is deadly to make these kinds of decisions without the input of parents from the BEGINNING. It is deadly because Black and Brown students in districts like this are subjected to an institutionally racist lack of understanding and care that exists among whites and the polices they produce.
Because this lack of understanding and care exists, Black children from all backgrounds are hyper-criminalized. The evidence points to Black children who are bullied and feel the need to protect themselves before, during and after school. Often, reports of bullying go ignored, Black children are told to just deal with it, and when the bully attacks, Black children are suspended, expelled, and ultimately put into alternative schools for defending themselves. Think school-to-prison pipeline on steroids. It is a known fact that Black children, deemed violent, unteachable, problematic, and worthless, are punished much more harshly than their white and Latinx counterparts. The general public has been taught to regard Blackness in a way that blunts our humanity.
Armed teachers and staff will lead to the death of many more Black children for speaking up, defending themselves or simply because the teacher or staff are closet racists. Our kids are already over-policed, and the idea that teachers (and staff) would be deputized is untenable. Think about the reports that expose the racism of many people who choose to wear the badge and uniform, and how white supremacists infiltrated police departments nationwide. Now think about all of the teachers who secretly carry that same racist ideology locked in a classroom with Black children. What happens when the teacher claims self-defense while a little Black child is murdered for asking for a pencil? It sounds extreme, but it can and will happen if we’re not careful. Listen to us, we are not the enemy. That area of Harris County is not the safest area for non white folks, so why would I want my child around an armed teacher who probably prays to the confederate flag?!
CONTACT THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND LET THEM KNOW THAT THIS IS A DANGEROUS DECISION:
The next regularly scheduled Board of Trustees Meeting will be on Monday June 21 at 7 p.m. in the Board Room of the Huffman ISD Administration Building, 24302 FM 2100.