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 Emmett Till 
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This video/story really got me thinking about my students. Emmett was just a young man, acting like a boy and was brutally tortured and murdered for his actions. The thing about his story that struck me was the case being reopened yet closed once again. Also, when the reporter tried to talk to Carolyn and Carolyn's son he was ignored and dismissed. To me, if Carolyn had realized her wrong doings, her and her family would publicly discuss their changed feelings. So apparently, over fifty years later, they feel no remorse.

I think about my Hispanic students and the constant discrimination they encounter in my community because of their ethnicity. I had a Hispanic student come up to me a couple of weeks ago and another Hispanic had told him that he wasn't as good a Hispanic because his mother was white and his father was Hispanic. We need to inspire our students and staff to know that their color/race/sex does not make who they are, it is their actions that display the individual inside.

I question that came through my mind is Has anyone in our class ever faced discrimination because of their race/sex/religion/family? Also, how did you handle it? I personally have faced discrimination because of who my family was. I was not allowed to apply for Teaching Fellows in high school because my principal said that my family didn't need that scholarship, they were too wealthy. This got around quite a bit, to the point that my classmates started labeling and ignoring me. I know this is a far stretch from Emmett's life but to me its still discrimination and feeling that someone is better than you.

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(Ariana) Nicole Benton Hazelwood


Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:00 pm
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I've often thought about the Hispanic population. It's sad to watch our country fall in the same racial traps as before.

I can't recall a time when I have been discriminated against until recently.

My youngest daughter attends a school where there are a lot of wealthy families. She befriended a girl two years ago whose parents are very wealthy. She's gone to the girl's house for a birthday party and spent the night. The girl attended my daughter's birthday party at a skating rink last year.

This year, my daughter wanted to have some girls spend the night and then go skating the next morning. This particular girl rode the bus home with my daughter and brought her things to spend the night. About 7:00 that evening, the mother called and said she was coming to pick her daughter up. Her explanation was that the daughter had a hard time spending the night out and she thinks she needs to come home.

The daughter was having a great time, but after she spoke on the phone to her mom she was quiet and became withdrawn. My daughter came to me and said she didn't want to go home. But there wasn't anything I could do. I was very distraught that this mother even let her bring her things over. She totally could have let her come over and plan to pick her up if spending the night was hard for her.

The daughter came to the skate party for 30 minutes the next morning. She had cheerleading practice to go to that day.

I didn't think anything about this until about a couple months later. The girls are both in the PE club and they went bowling. My husband picked up my daughter and he said that when he said hello to the mom while they were waiting, she totally ignored him like she didn't have any idea who he was.

There are a couple of things I come up with here. One is money. We are by no means rich, but we provide a clean safe home for our family. The other is that my husband is African American and of course our daughter is biracial (although she can be confused as caucasian, as she has light tan skin, has "good" hair (so to speak), and has blue eyes).

I 'm not sure what the mom's issue is, but it's a big one either way! In all the years I've been with my husband, we've never been (or noticed) anyone being discriminatory towards us because of our interracial marriage. This situation has bothered me since it happened. I've not run into her since my husband told me of her actions. I'm curious though to see what her demeanor will be when we do see each other. The end of the school year is coming and we are both usually at field day. Should be fun!

(\ (\
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Hoppy Easter!!

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Kelly Campbell


Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:14 pm
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Nicole, you are absolutely right: Carolyn and her family felt no remorse, even fifty years later. This was such a brutal crime so it is both astonishing and horrific that justice was never served. I think the most major slap in the face is that we consider ourselves more educated and diverse nowadays, but this case was closed once again most recently.

At my school, we have had some instances of racism involving minorities and some very immature white students who refer to themselves as "rednecks". Very few instances, but there nonetheless. We have a zero tolerance policy on bullying or intimidation of any kind (per NC law), and our administrators are no-nonsense about this.

Personally, my husband and I have experienced racism and prejudice on the campaign trail. Some people automatically assume we are a certain way because of our race and Bryan's office. We've actually had people scream at us during parades, "Throw us some money! We know you're rich white folks!" We can laugh about it now because it is so ridiculous (son of a chicken farmer and daughter of police officers--and I told you Tues. night folks about Bryan's amazing paycheck). We try to understand that people act certain ways because of tough life experiences, but I wish everyone would realize it takes more than looking skin-deep to figure out who a person is. Wish it was that simple :-).

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Misti Holloway


Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:16 pm
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Misit~

I wish all administrators were no-nonsense when it comes to bullying and other realities we face on a day to day basis that hinder education!

I think what is going to be and has proved to be hard to discipline is cyber bullying! When my oldest was in 7th grade, two years ago, a student I taught (also a 7th grader) made a web page of the schools "hots" and "nots". The name of the school was part of the web page's name. At the top of the male "not" list was our principal and at the top of the female "not" list was my daughter. I was irate, but still had to deal with this bully on a daily basis. My principal was in a tough spot, but with the parents willing to make it right, he put her in ISS for 2 days. I honestly can't say what he would have done if they weren't so easy to work with.

On the flip side too...some students don't see the seriousness of bullying. We have an online reporting system and I know of at least times there have been false reports. They were obviously fake, but we had to look into it to make sure.

It's tough being passionate about issues when there are so many that don't know even a fraction of the truth (and don't try to learn). Along the lines of the comments you get on the campaign trail. Assumptions made about people are dangerous and can be hurtful.

This class has made me aware to being more open and willing to consider and know that others come from a place we don't know about and should respect. Which I think more than half of educators already do...I think (or at least I hope!)

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Kelly Campbell


Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:23 pm
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Kelly, I agree that we need to listen to eveyone with an open mind and ears. I think it's like Dr. Turner said - we have to learn to make a choice about how we respond. I, too often, say exactly what is on my mind without a lot of thought. I am going to try to make a real effort to listen and choose how I respond, and to consider each individual's "story."

As for the discrimination, not long ago, I was over 100 pounds heavier, and I can definitely say I was discriminated against because of my weight. Just as people view southern accents as stupid, people view the obese with contempt - that they are lazy, stupid, and have no self-control, and choose to either gawk at you or ignore you. Luckily, I'm not dealing with that same type of discrimination, but I never cease to be amazed at since losing the weight, how people talk to me and acknowledge my existence. It's nice to have my life back, but I just wish people would accept each other for who they are.

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Lisa Pendry


Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:35 pm
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Thanks everyone for sharing! It really takes alot of guts to share your personal stories of discrimination. You guys have so motivated me to want to go to work right now and have a big dicussion with my students about discrimination and bullying-because that is what it really is. Have a great Easter!

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(Ariana) Nicole Benton Hazelwood


Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:18 pm
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You all have made such poignant points! Cyberbullying and "sexting" have become major issues at West Stokes. However, like Kelly said, these issues are difficult to discipline since some legislation has not quite caught up to these behaviors. At West, our administration has dealt with incidents of cyberbullying as harshly as possible. The sad fact is, with so much technology readily available to students. bullying has become easier, more widespread, and quite overwhelming to victims.

For the sake of the victims of bullying, can administrators set their own discipline policies?

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Misti Holloway


Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:45 pm
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Just to bring up another aspect of this whole situation...

The employees in most school systems are not protected from cyber bullying in any shape or form.

We found this out the hard way at our school, when a student who was angry about his lack of playing time on the football team decided to post a rap on facebook and tag all of his friends, with the request they "pass it on." The rap was sexually explicit and threatening - including promised violence towards a coach on our staff and sexual threats towards his fiance' who teaches in our system as well.

Come to find out, there is no protection from our school board for either of the teachers, and the student received minimal punishment. As a matter of fact, after interviewing for a newspaper article on the issue, the coach at our school was given a day of suspension because the student's discipline action was released to the press.

If the student hadn't admitted that the sexual remarks were "made up" then the fiance' could have received suspension with pay until an investigation cleared her! This floored me!

It's time for our school boards to protect our staff and students against misused technology...

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Lora T. Tiano


Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:20 pm
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I did this story with my students, I had to be careful with some of the graphic pictures though. My students were stunned by what they learned. What really seemed to bother them was the fact that Bryant sold the story to a magazine for four thousand dollars after it was all over. My students felt it was terrible that they made a profit from their horrible acts AND got off with no punishment! I had my students to then research hate crimes during the 21st Century and be prepared to share the facts of the case, a verdict if one was handed down and their own personal opinion of the situation. This was a very eye and heart opening experience for them. I think that they know there is discrimination but they don't always think that it is a part of their world. Researching and learning that this type of discrimination and hate is still around during their lifetime was very powerful. My hope? They will never be a part of such a horrible act and that they will be forever impacted by what hate can do, even today.
As a future administrator, I think I will forever have the images and facts of Emmett's case and others in my heart and mind as I work toward making my school a place where everyone is accepted and loved.


Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:30 pm
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I haven't personally experienced discrimination towards myself but did witness a friend of mine be publicly discriminated against It happened when I was in college. I was helping an African American friend of mine job hunt one afternoon in Raleigh. (I graduated from Meredith College, located near NC State.)

We walked into an upscale clothing store together and I browsed while she talked to an employee. I hardly didn't notice anything, but when we stepped outside, Brittany, my friend, was very frustrated. She said the employee she spoke with informed her there were no available positions and Brittany had to grab her attention to talk with her. However, on the front door of the store, there was a sign posted stating the business was accepting applications. Brittany has told me she had to start the conversation with employees while she watched them walk up to me.

It floored me that this happened right under my nose and I couldn't speak up for my friend and secondly it happened in the 21st century! (I was in college 2001-2005.)

This experience definitely opened my eyes! As an adminsitrator I can hope I will have a no-nonsense policy and really protect all students.

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Meghan Wood


Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:43 pm
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