Houston parents request meeting with board over teacher’s remark

By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal

WOODLAND – Parents of the children who were the target of a racial slur by a Houston substitute teacher are seeking a meeting with the Houston School Board when it meets March 8.
A group of 84 people gathered at Callahan Missionary Baptist Church east of Woodland on Saturday to discuss their concerns and what they would like to see the school board do regarding the substitute teacher.
The fifth-grade substitute was suspended for two days after the incident on Feb. 10 and continues to drive a school bus for the district.
Houston Superintendent Steve Coker could not be reached on Saturday for comment.

Demand for action
“We want the school board to understand how serious we think this incident is,” said Harold Jackson, first vice president of the Calhoun County branch of the NAACP and spokesman at Saturday’s meeting. “We need some movement from the Houston school system.”
Tamika Ivy, whose 10-year-old son was in the classroom when the expletive was used, said the teacher should not be working for the district in any capacity and should apologize for her actions.
“My son said a bunch of kids were at the pencil sharpener and she used the word to tell them to sit down,” said Ivy. “He said everything got real quiet, but she never apologized or said she was sorry. The word she used is very negative and hurtful and no child should ever be called that.”

Letter to district
Jackson said parents and the local NAACP have sent a certified letter to the school district. Both the state and national organization also are aware of the situation.
“We are concerned that neither the district nor the local community has responded strongly about this,” said Shenia Jones of Houston, who spoke at the meeting. “This is not something that we want happening in Houston and it is not something that we will allow to happen in our schools.”
There are about 1,950 students enrolled in the Houston School District. The racial makeup of the district is about 41 percent black, 52 percent white and 6 percent Hispanic.