Parents in the Park Hill School District are demanding accountability for the student or students behind a racist petition last week that they say was a call to bring back slavery.
The school district has shared few specific details about the incident, which originated at Park Hill South High School last week. Nicole Kirby, a district spokeswoman, said Tuesday that the matter is considered a “discipline incident” and therefore the amount of information the district may share is limited, including the number of students involved or the exact details of what transpired.
“We can’t talk about specifics,” Kirby said. “But we wanted to make sure that we responded and let people know that we don’t tolerate discrimination or harassment.”
Kerrie Herren, principal of Park Hill South, shared a message with the student body on Friday, in which he described the racist statements as “unacceptable.” He said “the impact of these sentiments are being felt heavily within our school.”
“We are outraged, hurt and saddened that this occurred,” Herren said in the statement. “This is not who we want to be at Park Hill South. Our differences make us stronger. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment.”
Julie Stutterheim’s 15-year-old adopted daughter, who is Ethiopian, heard a vague announcement over the P.A. at LEAD Innovation Studio — another high school in the Park Hill school district — on Monday about the incident at Park Hill South. She was “really upset” when she learned what happened, Stutterheim said. She heard from a classmate that it was in reference to a petition about slavery.
The subject was a difficult one for her daughter to even raise, Stutterheim said.
“She said, ‘You know, you’re white, mom. So you don’t really know what this is like.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, you’re right,” Stutterheim said.
“And she just wanted to know that ... something was being done.”
Kirby said there are board policies in place with defined consequences for harassment, including racial harassment, and the district is following those rules. In the days since the incident came to light, Kirby said Park Hill has been doing “a lot of listening” with parents and students.
“We’ve set up some opportunities for students and even parents to be able to share their feelings about this and to try to provide some support to them, Kirby said, adding: “This is very much evidence that we have work to do. Because we have a commitment to creating an inclusive, welcoming environment where everyone feels like they belong.”
Thursday, September 23, 2021
More and more Americans are coming around to getting vaccinated, but we're running into availability problems with being able to access vaccine providers and having the time to do it, especially in underserved Black and brown communities, which has still been a majorly underrepresented problem.
Yolanda Orosco-Arellano decided she would get the coronavirus vaccine long before it became available. But securing an appointment for it was less straightforward.
The hotel housekeeper and mother of four worried about her anemia, a risk factor for severe illness from the virus. But Orosco-Arellano doesn’t have a car and needed a vaccination slot scheduled around her shifts at the hotel.
Barriers to getting the shot and information about the vaccines have hindered the “unvaccinated but willing,” who account for approximately 10 percent of the American population, according to a report last month by the Department of Health and Human Services. Unlike those who have declined vaccines, some vocally, because of their politics or ideology, a quieter share — about 44% of unvaccinated people — say they would get vaccinated but are on the fence for certain reasons. Some, like Orosco-Arellano, lack transportation or other means, while others wish to wait and see or don’t know coronavirus vaccines are free.
Immunizing that population could be critical to attaining herd immunity and protecting those disproportionately affected by the pandemic. But public health officials have, so far, struggled to reach young adults, Blacks, Hispanics and uninsured people, groups who are unvaccinated but willing at higher rates.
To fill the gap, a motley contingent of volunteers has stepped in — from nurses ferrying patients in their own cars to retired health care workers manning phone lines to community members passing out educational fliers. Nearly 100 free and charitable clinics across the country, which offer services to uninsured or underinsured people, have forged bridges with underserved communities in an initiative dubbed “Project Finish Line,” aiming to vaccinate 1 million hard-to-reach people like Orosco-Arellano.
Her clinic, HealthNet in Rock County, Wis., is one of the ones adapting to reach the unvaccinated but willing and has offered rides to patients and expanded their hours around work schedules. Orosco-Arellano got her shot in May at the clinic.
“I felt comfortable here,” she said in Spanish, sitting in the clinic beside the caseworker, Alicia Alvarado, who drove her to the appointment and translated for her.
The initiative by clinics has immunized more than 112,000 people since June said Joe Agoada, the CEO of Sostento, a nonprofit that supports front line health workers in underserved communities and launched the project. HHS noted in the report last month that the percentage of people who were unable but willing to get vaccinated has declined, indicating the outreach has had some success.
But the effort has hinged on safety-net clinics like HealthNet that have become a bedrock in their communities but do not receive federal funding, Agoada said. The clinics’ patients include those experiencing homelessness or those who are unable to get health insurance. Before the pandemic hit, the clinics offered vital health care to 2 million people who needed it.
“They’re overburdened by the number of patients, and their patients themselves are burdened,” Agoada said.
Sostento has raised $500,000 for the vaccination initiative, half of what the nonprofit says is needed.
“Free and charitable clinics are vaccinating populations nobody else can, despite a lack of resources,” Agoada said. “To defeat this pandemic, we cannot afford to overlook and underinvest in this group, and yet so far this is exactly what has happened.”
The clinics depend on grants and donations and, during the pandemic, thousands of volunteer hours, many at the front lines of the vaccination effort.
At HealthNet in Wisconsin, in addition to clinic staff driving patients to their appointments, some have spent their lunches or off-hours vaccinating people who can’t visit while the clinic is open. Even the clinic’s CEO, Ian Hedges, has passed out his cell number, responding to texts on weekends to sign people up for appointments.
“That was VIP red carpet service,” he said. “I would have never done that for anyone else except for individuals who felt that no one else was listening or talking to them.”
Bipartisan congressional talks on overhauling policing practices have ended without an agreement, top bargainers from both parties said Wednesday, marking the collapse of an effort that began after killings of unarmed Black people by officers sparked protests across the U.S.
“It was clear that we were not making the progress that we needed to make,” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., told reporters. He cited continued disagreements over Democrats’ efforts to make officers personally liable for abuses, raising professional standards and collecting national data on police agencies’ use of force.
Booker said he’d told South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the lead Republican negotiator, of his decision earlier Wednesday. Talks had moved slowly for months, and it had became clear over the summer that the chances for a breakthrough were all but hopeless.
Scott said he was “deeply disappointed” that Democrats had walked away from accords reached on several issues, including banning chokeholds, curbing the transfer of military equipment to police and increased funds for mental health programs, which address problems that often lead to encounters with law enforcement officers.
“Crime will continue to increase while safety decreases, and more officers are going to walk away from the force because my negotiating partners walked away from the table,” Scott said in a statement.
Democrats rejected a deal “because they could not let go of their push to defund our law enforcement,” said Scott, using a catchphrase of progressives from which most Democrats in Congress have disassociated themselves. “Once again, the Left let their misguided idea of perfect be the enemy of good, impactful legislation.”
The congressional effort followed high-profile, fatal police shootings last year of Black people including George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. Those killings and protest demonstrations in scores of cities that followed called attention to abusive police behavior and the disproportionately high number of Blacks who are victims of fatal encounters with law enforcement.
Repeated visits to Washington by the families of Floyd, Taylor and others helped keep pressure on the issue.
But in the end, Booker said, “I couldn’t get to a point where I can meet with families and tell them that we were going to address the specific issues that were putting your family member in harm’s way.”
Booker cited support parts of the effort had won from police organizations, and said he was talking to the White House, other congressional Democrats and civil rights and other outside groups about still making some progress on the issue. But he avoided specifics.
“I just want to make it clear that this is not an end,” he said.
Scott is lying about defunding the police, but you can actually thank far left Democrats for falling into Scott's trap on it. Any efforts by Booker and Democrats for real police reform would have been called "defunding the police" and would have died in the Senate, and Booker got sick of it after eight months and walked away.
Exactly what I said would happen on police reform happened.
Black Lives Still Matter though.