A topic we refrain from talking about in the school house: Being Educated and Black; The Unfortunate Circumstances of Micro aggressions…
Micro-aggression is defined as….(look it up…) 🤷🏽♀️
I often have family and other people share how lucky I am to have so much education. If only they knew what I dealt with they might change their thoughts.
I grew up around drug dealers. I was told by the media that they were bad people. I saw them lose their lives when they were arrested. They were a generation or two away from slavery. They were a generation or two away from segregated schools. They were a generation or two away from being uneducated.
Those drug dealers were trying their best to take care of their families. They saw what the world of people on the outside didn’t see; the challenges of being poor and black and brown citizens of the USA.
They pushed me to go to college. I was told that I would be successful and being successful meant being around successful people. I have a problem with making assumptions; so I assumed this meant being around “good” people would make me successful. And those with degrees where I came from didn’t look like me. Remember, those drug dealers didn’t have degrees.
A book I read “The Tragic Life of Robert Peace” describes my thoughts perfectly. I kept going to ensure I was able to beat the odds and take care of my son. Recently I realized … I actually had an epiphany…
This epiphany opened my eyes to the reality of what we still deal with in 2019. Those drug dealers were not bad. They were good people! They were just as “good” as the corrupted people with degrees, who lie for gain, embezzle money, and are in their profession for political gain versus to truly do right. Those drug dealers were scared. They were doing what I am doing now; taking care of their families. They saw something I didn’t see; you will deal with some sort of racism because you are black. And to be black and smart…or as Aretha sung “Young, Gifted and Black” is still foreign to many. So foreign that they have to look you up, and do things to push you out because of fear.https://youtu.be/oc7VJAhnxlc
For the last few months, I’ve been fixated on one question:
“Why am I looked at as a threat?”
And it finally dawned on me…. why does it matter? I’m happy with who I am, what I accomplished, and I’m following my purpose! “You [I’ve] got your soul in tact,” sings Aretha!
But I still challenge my teaching experience from this year. I challenge why Lonnie Gilmore,my former principal couldn’t admit the truth or why my superintendent didn’t assist him with the correct protocol. I resigned (providing him a verbal, emailed, and hard copied resignation dated March 20th).
See the facts are:
March 19th- I was forced into a meeting with two colleagues and the Fort Knox Union President. The colleagues were Laura Alvarez and Scott Jackson. Since I’m stating only facts; Laura and Scott felt the need to complain about me because I told them that they didn’t know how to teach black kids. The problem was: 1. I never said that; 2. The date that they shared I said that we never met (and the date that they changed it to, we didn’t meet either). I write everything down. (I have a black notebook that I wrote things down because I never felt comfortable around my colleagues. The first day on the job Jackson and one of the admin assistants tried to pull me into a huddle sharing with me the drama with Alvarez (she was sleeping with a student and possible with the assistant principal…🤦🏾♀️) I walked away and told them I’m here to teach. )
But, I recall that meeting very well. I shared strategies that I used to help my reluctant readers who were mostly Black males because they were discussing a Black male and his sister and brother who were struggling. I shared with them that reluctant readers often needed books that they could relate to; so maybe that translated to that. I shared the importance of building relationships to assist with literacy. The same thing I do at presentations, but for some reason they looked at it as a threat or … just a means to bully me; which they did the entire year. I hated coming to work on days I had to meet with them. I actually said this in the meeting that I was forced to be in too. “I hate being here I shared…” and I explained why to the four that were in this meeting that I was forced to be in that day. I was never given an opportunity to address my uncomfortableness in that meeting and I was very uncomfortable. I actually raised my voice when I shared how much I hated coming to work. This should have shown intent…. but I guess only to the prudent eye would this had given off that…
But the reason they truly brought me in (email to Gilmore) was because I taught Huck Finn up to only Chapter 10. I shared with them why and they were “uncomfortable.” That was pretty interesting because those Black kids who had to hear the word “Nigger” (I will not censor the word (one of Anthonys friends told him I was wrong for censoring Nigger but not faggot, so I’m going to be an equal opportunity user of words today) 214 times, because Scott read the book aloud and that’s how many times it’s in there. Did you know this book serves no purpose in American Literature?
Scott said in the meeting that Jim (the Nigger in the book) was looked at as a hero…. hmmmmm well couldn’t we take a moment to find a better book and cover the same standards? Ok,
I’m getting away from the facts…
On this day, March 19th, when I met with them and Leticia Kidd, I blurted out how much I hated working at Fort Knox. I was pretty loud. I shared I hated coming to work and shared other things because I truly did hate it! Every meeting my colleagues talked about the students, we never got anything accomplished, and they were too busy taking my comments as negative.
Laticia Kidd, sat at the edge of her chair and began to raise her voice at me, Scott and Laura admitted to talking about me (“That yearbook looks horrible, I tried looking up her degrees and guess what I found”- that was Scott one day I walked into a meeting “She is so extra and she thinks she knows everything”- that was Laura; she won’t be here after this year…Hahahaha Scott said and Laura makes additional comments that I couldn’t hear but it’s race based).
I also have a few recordings and not to include the kids who sent my son texts saying they were googling me. What kind of … ish is that when you should be teaching???! Oh that’s right, DODEA teachers don’t teach because they make so much money, but I did…
I’m getting side tracked….
I didn’t join the union because I was so busy coming into the school with so many different things to do; my assistant principal Dominguez sending me emails and only talking to me about fundraising for the yearbook because the class had to borrow money from another club the year before and I had to make that money up. So I didn’t have time to do much because I moved to Fort Knox as a single mom, and instantly hit the ground running.
Leticia Kidd, the Union President was the mediator that day and I’m still trying to figure out how I managed to be called To that meeting. As a matter of fact when I asked Gilmore, he responded back to my email and said to do what I needed to. Because he is the first Black and I saw the big picture, I didn’t want to file against him or Washington because diversity is needed. As a matter of fact, I sent Gilmore a text telling him I would not file against him or the superintendent; Yolonda Washington because they failed to protect me from the racism and harassment. They issued they knew very well were present and those coworkers who don’t like change and who were and still are talking about him set him up; he didn’t read to understand having me come to meetings and he failed … and they are laughing at him. They keep their jobs; married to a student, googling my coworker in government computers and bullying her son… but I have a job!!!
I know it was the above because every Black teacher at Fort Knox; including the superintendent and her boss are aware of the racial climate and the consensus was “don’t let them win.” “We have to stick together.” And I understand that because you have teachers in that school sucking on lollipops all day in the school gossiping about teachers and complaining while making ill-appropriate comments such as “What is this Jim Crow era, hahaha” signed white basketball coach.
At any rate, on this day, Gilmore hugged me, and told me it would be ok and things would change; alluding to the racism he saw that took place. He was shocked and he mentioned this to me after his first meeting (PLC) with the English department. He came to my classroom and shared what he saw and was in awe with how my colleagues treated me on that day. I remember it very well… I even have a text I sent to someone about his comments.
But when I gave him my verbal resignation on this day, his follow up statement “what happens when you leave and experience racism again.” I responded “I’ll keep moving.” I shared with him that my sanity was most important and he shared with me that time he had a stroke and it was because of issues at work. He also told me that he would not accept my resignation and he gave me tissue before this convo because I stood in the corner shedding tears, in disbelief what had just transpired. He kept saying I was an asset. He raised his voice to Kidd and said “You will not continue to disrespect Dr. Vargas.” He had no idea how to handle it; well I’m certain he did, but he was walking on eggshells because… this racism shit.. Is real!!!!!! I mean real! And the fact that I was less to believe I had to be in this meeting was also wrong on his part. You see DODEA has many regulations and I’m so tired of reading them, but I’ve read them, I know them and they will continue to find ways to use them to protect themselves. But I sent him a text telling him I would not file a grievance against him because he was new, but I realized later… covert racism, politics, and just being naive is something that I was dealing with.
I walked out of the office and went to PH office and cried. She told me I couldn’t quit and I told her I respect her decision but my mind was made up. I submitted my resignation on March 20th. The email reads…
He was worried and contacted a colleague to check on me. I shared with this colleague (SH) that I had resigned; he shared I should not allow them to push me out and I shared with him along with several others that I would not remain at Fort Knox.
At the end of the day, Gilmore shared that my resignation was invalid because I had no intent of really leaving… what does intent mean again? I think I shared that when I told several people in the school, not including those on the outside.
I literally felt abused and harassed and he saw this. We talked about this several times; to include texts we sent to each other about the basketball coach who allowed my Type 1 son to play basketball with a 500 blood sugar… and he failed to tell the other coaches about my sons medical issues. He actually competed Type one to epyleyss and talked over me as I tried to explain. Gilmore heard me one day attempting to talk to him (I pulled Anthony off of the team) and texted to check on me. He saw the issues, but he wanted to be like many of the other blacks “quiet” because if they were too loud they might lose their good paying jobs….
I resigned on March 20, 2019 (did you see the email) but I was terminated by Gilmore on his day off (even when I asked to see him) for bullying, and humiliating a child. The parents of that child and I went out to eat. The child and I spoke over the phone and shared he felt I “loved” him and I was the only teacher that even cared. His parents along with many other reached out and said… they set you up…. and I see it!
#DespisePeopleWhoCannotBeTruthful #IHaveTextsToo #ParentsofFortKnoxHarrassedMeOnFacebookAndMySon