A teacher in Guntown, Mississippi was “reprimanded” for telling two black girls to “quiet down before I send your colored selves to the office.” Dominique Witherspoon and Paris Howell, students at Guntown Middle School, were joking with each other in class when the atmosphere suddenly got a lot less…funny.
The two girls, upset by being referred to in 1963 fashion, reported the incident to the school administration and to their parents. Their parents are irate. The school shrugged it off and made the teacher apologize.
“It didn’t make me feel right,” said Howell, who along with her classmates was shocked at the blatant disrespect shown by someone who was supposed to be a role model.
School superintendent Jimmy Weeks said in a statement:
Once the administration at the school was made aware of what happened, the proper disciplinary measures were taken in accordance to school district policy.
Weeks said it was up to the teacher to disclose to the girls and their parents what that disciplinary action was. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t harsh enough for Howell’s mother:
It’s hush-hush and it’s a slap on the wrist and I don’t want that. We’ve went through too much as a people to have to go back to being called colored.
The girls’ parents won’t be satisfied until the teacher is fired.
Guntown is a small town in Mississippi with a population of less than three-thousand, 72% of whom are white. The girls, having grown up in the poorest, least educated state in the union, are most likely familiar with racism. Mississippi refuses to rename Forrest County, named for KKK Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Mississippi loves its racism. While the state has the highest concentration of blacks in the country and the most black elected officials, they’re kept to regional and local municipalities. Mississippi hasn’t elected a black person in a statewide election since Senator Blanche Kelsoe Bruce in 1874. Yes that was an 18. Voter suppression laws and ridiculously gerrymandered districts have all but taken the vote away from the black population of the Magnolia State.
Our country struggles with the issue of racism, and until people like this bigoted teacher in Guntown are dealt with accordingly and held accountable for their actions, we have a long way to go.