Needing to Understand and to Sort Out - C2C - from Westport, Washington to Sandy Hook, New Jersey - CycleBlaze

Needing to Understand and to Sort Out

This past February, while I was substituting in the public schools in Buffalo, Wyoming, I encountered the following:

Facsimile Image of School Project
(Photo on file, but restricted for legal reasons)
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It was a student project - a cereal box with a highly realistic cardboard Bowie knife sticking into a stereotyped Mexican. Interactive, too, inviting the participant to slide the knife into and out of the "Mexican". I have never seen anything as horrible in my entire teaching life.

I was told be the principal that they had already "dealt" with it. If so, why was it sitting in the classroom - visible to anyone and everyone - for at least a week? I began to face cuts in my employment, gradual at first. But when I continued to bring up the issue - to the superintendent and, later, to the board, I was, ultimately, banned from subbing. Electronically, of course. With not even an email. With complete deniability on their part.

I never had one moment's doubt as to what I should do. Nor do I regret my decision. I have been told by administrators that there is no racism that they see. Others have said that it was just a game. That there aren't that many Mexicans in Buffalo, anyway. That I should just leave town. I have received little support - a few friends and my minister. But most people only whisper, "I think what you are doing is right, but ...." Their wife works for the county or their business might suffer.

Even though there is a new Mexican family in town with kids in the schools - none of whom speak much English -I was told that my actions endanger the students who made the project. How Orwellian! I doubt that anyone has to speak much English to understand the meaning of this image.

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So, I begin this tour having been under constant attack for three months - lacking any substantial income - yet still, completely O.K.

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