I said in writing that I would keep my eye on this situation. Finally, the local newspaper, the Columbus Dispatch, has brought out some reporting on it. Better late than never. It was the blogging community that seems to have brought this to the light of day, however, and it was on MaxedOutMama that I first saw the report. I felt that race might be a contributing factor, along with the school system’s desire to ‘look good’ that may have contributed to the poor handling of the reporting… all the way through the matter.
This is what I can gather so far:
- Mifflin’s stats are that it is 92% black, but what isn’t included in that statistic is the fact that it is a volatile mix of American black and African black, Somalis. Columbus has one of the largest communities of Somalis in the nation, more than 30000 Somalis, the second-largest Somali community in the United States
- Earlier in the day of the attack was a problem confrontation involving a Somali. What isn’t clear is whether this is a factor in the attack or whether this is a factor in the hush-up and unprofessional actions of the administrators in charge
- It is now widely recognized that the principals, all of them, did not act properly.
In the April 15th Editorial in the Columbus Disptach, ‘Outrage At Mifflin’ ( available online only by paid subscription), this fact was reported:
Mifflin is plagued by confrontations between black American and Somali students that periodically turn violent, the school has had more than its share of bad publicity
To which I must comment that this might be a reason that there is bad publicity: things aren’t handled properly. Might not that be part of the problem? To read the actions of Principal Regina Crenshaw, one wonders at the unconscionably cavalier actions she displayed.
- a group of girls come screaming to the door of a special ed. teacher
- a safety employee radioed for help, he later came across the crying girl, dazed and confused
- students were reporting to another special ed. teacher that a student had videotaped the incident
- according to the Dispatch reporting, at this point the teachers and the administrators were to report to the police or Children’s Services; none did
Following the report of this sequence of events, what was Prinicipal Crenshaws reported response? After having a meeting interupted with this news she returned to her meeting, went about her business there for a good half hour ( estimated by a member present) and reported nothing. Instead, she proceeded with what can only be seen as damage control- trying to put off a concerned father ….. the editorial, Outrage At Mifflin, ends with this:
The legal, moral, and administrative failures in this incident are stunning and appalling. The school, the school district and the community must find out why no responsible person had enough grasp of right and wrong to call the police when a helpless girl was brutilized by thugs.
To which I wholeheartedly acquiesce. The article further called for Columbus school officials to “do some housecleaning” at this school and wherever this sort of activity is found, and that investigations, should they find that teachers and adminitrators broke laws, should result in prosecution.
I agree, but we will have to see….
That is all I have to report on the coverage from my local newspaper, although there are media, such as the Glen Beck Show, who are taking up the ball in the effort to keep it from being swept under the rug.
Yes, this is embarrassing, to the schools and the community, but more than embarassing it is a moral breach that needs to be addressed. It impacts the justice in our community, it impacts the way we view and treat women, it is part of the choice of who we are as a community of people.
I think we can be better than this, I want us to be. Even if looking at the facts hurts and dealing with it hurts. There are some wounds that can only heal that way.
attribution: The Columbus Dispatch