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Norwalk NAACP calls out NPS teacher’s ‘poisoned’ post

This social media post from a Norwalk teacher is “egregious,” the Norwalk NAACP said.

NORWALK, Conn. — A social media post by a Norwalk Public Schools teacher, on the theme of “all lives matter,” has “shocked and dismayed” the Board of the Greater Norwalk NAACP.

“Of course all lives matter. But it is black lives that encounter systemic racism on a daily basis that results in violence, stereotyping, profiling, and undermining of basic respect and dignity,” the NAACP said in a letter Monday to Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Alexandra Estrella, Board of Education Chairman Colin Hosten, Norwalk Chief of Social Services Lamond Daniels and Mayor Harry Rilling.

The Board called the post racist and said, “It is our hope that this egregious incident will be handled quickly and sensibly, and that the individual who sent out this meme receives the education and training that he or she requires in order to gain understanding of the culture and challenges of each of their students.”

“Our Human Resources department has been working on this matter and is addressing it with the individual involved,” Norwalk Public Schools Communications Director Brenda Wilcox Williams said in an email.

The NAACP statement, signed by Norwalk Branch NAACP President Brenda Penn-Williams, explained:

“It is mind-boggling that a presumably educated individual would post this manufactured and incendiary falsehood, based on ignorance, at a time when top best-selling books on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble take on these topics, including “How to Be an Antiracist,” by Ibram X. Kendi, “White Fragility,” by Robin DiAngelo, and “So You Want to Talk About Race,” by Ijeoma Oluo. “The New Jim Crow,” Michelle Alexander’s book about mass incarceration, was published 10 years ago. Clearly, the resources necessary for fruitful research and constructive conversation on diversity and race relations are easily available. Yet, the teacher who sent these poisoned posts out to the world took an easy route that requires no research, no meaningful conversations and no understanding of the experiences that black and brown individuals live on a daily basis.

“And what of this teacher’s students? Would you expect that they are treated fairly, with an understanding of what they experience on a daily basis? Are they given respect for who they are, and are met with high expectations?

“We all know the numbers. Black people are more than three times as likely as white people to be killed during a police encounter. Forty percent of the incarcerated population in this country is black, even though black people make up 13% of the population. And, over the last 50 years, the black unemployment rate has been twice as high as the white unemployment rate. As Ibram X. Kendi notes, “Historically when people have broken through barriers, the people who put those barriers in place did not just go home and go to sleep. They erected new barriers.” We must acknowledge that racist forces have continuously made progress in this country just as antiracist forces have continuously made progress.

“The behavior of this individual is especially surprising when one considers the anti-bias training that Norwalk Public Schools staff undergoes yearly and our Superintendent’s initiative wherein Norwalk Public Schools will team with Temple University’s Dr. Edward Fergus to launch a comprehensive study and action plan to address educational equity in the city.”

 

Daniels said, “The continuation of learning and education around race and ethnicity in our community is critically important which is why Mayor Rilling is committed to addressing these issues by bringing on Led By Us & Associates to facilitate a city-wide dialogue and to establish and form the Equity and Justice for All Commission.  This Saturday we will be announcing the engagement tools for residents to join in and participate in this effort.”

Comments

14 responses to “Norwalk NAACP calls out NPS teacher’s ‘poisoned’ post”

  1. Collie

    I am not surprised by this Teacher’s post. It’s unfortunate that most of Norwalk’s Teachers are not the same color as the kids they teach, because alot of these Teachers have no understanding of what it is like to be a “minority”. Most have the idea that Norwalk Schools are low performing because of all the Minority kids, but it’s because of them and their subpar teaching. Their needs to be more Black and Hispanics Teachers in Norwalk.

  2. John Miller

    ALL LIVES MATTER!!! PERIOD!!!!

  3. Look at the Facts

    In case anyone at all cared to notice, black and Hispanic students haven’t been a minority in Norwalk public schools for at least 10 years. Latino students make up over 70% of the student population while black student numbers are comparable to white students.

    People love to read these stories and comment about “minorities” but the fact of the matter is that in the school system they are not. What does that tell you about these people who want to keep grandstanding about inclusion and how some populations don’t get the same treatment as others?

    Seems an awful lot like race baiting to me.

  4. Victor Budnik

    BLM is a racist group! that’s trying to keep Black’s and other minorities apart from the people in our society!! unfortunately their doing a good job! shame on them!!

  5. Bob Giolitto

    All lives do NOT matter, which is the point of the Black Lives Matter movement, along with its name. Even in our supposedly diverse city, Black people are systematically banned from living in certain neighborhoods, subject to unfair housing practices, and are denied the same educational opportunities that whites receive. The systemic racism of centuries lies just below the surface–witness the incident cited in this article. Or the lie that Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization even though the FBI and the previous administration’s Department of Justice found no evidence that Black Lives Matter folk caused any violence at protests since the murder of George Floyd.
    All lives will matter when Black Lives Matter.

  6. Jorge Calvo

    Lets sensor the Norwalk teacher, and take away their freedom of speech on their time off while they use facebook…. This is ridiculous, why is the NPS Employee not allowed an opinion?
    I know!, because it’s easier to run around blaming everyone rather than to look in the mirror and ask yourself “What have i done to make a change today?”
    much easier to go around calling people you don’t know sub-par… take responsibility, stop using the Norwalk school system as child care, and get involved in your kids education.

  7. Tray

    @John Miller
    You are absolutely correct,all lives DO MATTER. Unfortunately, UNTIL PEOPLE TRULY REALIZE we as people of color matter too…we WILL CONTINUE TO SAY..BLACKS LIVES MATTER. If this statement bothers anyone, you ARE part of the problem.

  8. John O’Neill

    I wish Brenda was just as fired up about the lack of discipline and accountability in schools. Obviously this teacher is incredibly stupid, and should be fired for being that stupid.
    It should be pointed our that 30% of administrators are Black. Maybe we should reduce White administrators to 25%, Black to 15%, Hire enough Hispanics to raise their level to 55%. There’s a small population of Asians/East Asians…Let’s find 5% to cover them.
    Regarding underperformers — Let’s get rid of every teacher who is underperforming regardless of color. Who will do the evaluating?
    Finally, let’s grade parents on how well their kids are prepared to attend school. That would prove to be quite interesting.
    It should also be pointed out that approx. 50%+ of students entering college in Connecticut need remedial help. What’s that all about?
    Is it the Teachers? Is it the students? Is it the parents? Is is the racial imbalance of teachers/students? —
    Winners come up with ideas — Losers come up with excuses. That’s the reality of life.

  9. Jorge Calvo

    What I wonder is, if a plumber or electrician posted that, would you call their union and not allow them to work in your house in which your children reside?.
    Being a teacher is just the profession the facebook user chose. Just like Police, so do we now as a society scrutinize people based on their profession?
    Is that not a form of discrimination?

  10. Janine

    Sorry Tray, that is just wrong. All lives matter and if you have a problem with only identifying black people as the ones that really matter, you are the problem.

  11. John Miller

    @Tray:
    I agree. Until EVERYONE begins to judge ALL PEOPLE by the content of their character, not the color of their skin or their ethnicity as Dr. King admonished us to do, we will not be able to move forward as a nation. What I fear, however, is that the rhetoric has become so heated on both sides that nothing will be solved. We need to dial it back and talk to one another, if that’s possible.

  12. Michael Dunham

    There are some folk here that are truly showing their racism. A closed mind means a closed heart. The history is available. Do the research, especially those of you who have never walked in these shoes.

  13. JustaTaxpayer

    My neighbors are black. They paid $800k+ for their home. There’s no systematic racism denying people the ability to live anywhere in Norwalk. If you make buckets of money you can buy the biggest house on the water in Rowayton. Prove me otherwise

  14. Michael McGuire

    I believe that 95+ percent of Americans all want the same thing. Good schools, good health care, a good job and good opportunities for our children. I think 90 percent believe a meritocracy system is the best way to achieve these goals.

    Therefore, it’s time we all step back from rhetoric that alienates and isolates. It’s time for civil discussions that are fact based and take a deeper cut at the causes and sources of Ms. Penn-Williams’s allegations because, inflammatory rhetoric aside, they do have merit. But perhaps from reasons that are not exclusively race-based.

    Example, I think we can all agree that education is the pathway for opportunity and power. The definition(s) of Systemic Racism seem to broadly focus on it being a systematic “denial of opportunity and power”.

    Therefore, is it Systemic Racism that creates the “experiences that black and brown individuals live on a daily basis”? Or is it a function of five plus decades of a failed welfare system that is heavily biased against anyone of limited means, particularly single mothers, regardless of color?

    After all, the proof is staring at us every day in the failed inner cities school systems and impoverished sections of historically Democratic run cities that are bastions of multi-generational welfare.

    Are white people oppressors and inherently to blame as Ms. Penn-Williams claims? Or could it be our political leadership, of all colors, who benefit from a massive welfare system that is one of the largest line items in our Federal Budget. What would leadership do if the ire of these impoverished inner-city communities were focused on them for policies that virtually ensured 50+ years of crushed dreams?

    How would Martin Luther King react to the meme, or the condemnation of the teacher by the board, or Ms. Penn-Williams’s reaction? What would Thomas Sowell say on this topic? Or Denzel Washington, or Candace Owens?

    Critical Race Theory (CRT), which appears to be the underpinning of Systemic Racism is just that, it’s a theory. A theory that should be rigorously tested under the harsh light of free speech and common sense. Sadly, the political left has done an outstanding job of fostering a figurative death sentence for any person who dares step out of line for nothing more than expressing what inherently seems to be common sense on this topic.

    But here is the truth, everyone is racist at some point. Racism is based on limited information. None of us has all the facts all the time.

    I hope we have not forgotten that in the big picture “we are forgiven”, but only to the extent that “we forgive others”.

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