DeKalb Schools – Students Kneel During National Anthem

As reported by WSB-TV 2, The girls at Cedar Grove High School in DeKalb County took a knee before their playoff game. “Basically right now, the flag doesn’t’ mean what it’s supposed to, to me.” a student said.

They are following in the footsteps of NFL player Colin Kaepernick who refuses to stand for the national anthem saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

In a statement issued by DeKalb Schools, “If students should elect to express their free speech rights, we want to create and provide a safe space to do so. The goal is not to interfere with the students’ constitutional right to freedom of speech.”

Many Americans see kneeling during the national anthem as disrespectful. This is arguably one step short of burning the flag and is a slap in the face to everyone who has served to defend it.

I advocate for the First Amendment across the board. I hope the freedom of students to express themselves will be vigilantly defended across the political, religious, etc … spectrums.

63 responses to “DeKalb Schools – Students Kneel During National Anthem

  1. Bill Armstrong

    “This is arguably one step short of burning the flag and is a slap in the face to everyone who has served to defend it.”

    I would never speak for those that serve(d), but there have been plenty that do/have who say (paraphrasing) “the freedom of the American people to express themselves in whatever form they legally choose to is precisely one of the rights I serve(d) to protect, including this.”

    And I don’t want to try to speak for the “kneelers” or “standers” or “arm lockers” or “fist raisers” etc.
    They are expressing themselves. If I feel the need to respond, I will.

    My default position is the First Amendment must be protected and interpreted to the broadest extent Constitutionally proper, especially when it is political speech. And I never want to engage in a patriotism contest. Especially in the current atmosphere.

    A “teachable moment” to be sure. Similar to the scene in “Remember the Titans” when the black player puts up the picture of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics raised fists in front of his white roommate, when I watched over the summer with my kids. But this is now & this is real.

  2. I agree with supporting these students and their rights. Having military family members, they defend the right to protest and our country, not forced behavior to a flag.

  3. “This is arguably one step short of burning the flag and is a slap in the face to everyone who has served to defend it.”

    The thing about the meaning of symbolic gestures, is that the meaning is not in the gesture, but in the intentions of the gesturer. Even a flag being burned is considered respectful or disrespectful depending on whether the person is intending to be offensive, or is trying to participate respectfully in a flag retirement ceremony.

    The ‘kneel’ was intended to be a sign of respect but sorrow, and it was worked out after the previous form of protest (sitting during the anthem) was called disrespectful. Kaepernick discussed what a respectful form of protest would be with another NFL player who was a former Green Beret, and they landed on kneeling, which was used in various respectful ways in the military.

    If you read any interview with athletes who kneel, I think you’ll see that their intention is to go out of their way to show respect to the country and the military, and just to protest one specific thing. Much like the flag burning example above, I think it’s important to pay attention to the intention and not the action, if you want to see what the symbol means to the person doing it. Personally, I think the intentions are respectful, and it’s outlets that thrive on controversy for their livelihood that are trying to misrepresent their intentions as being hateful towards our country and our military.

  4. Curious >> Exactly how has the United States oppressed these girls? And what exactly are they looking for in the meaning of the flag? Are they protesting something in their reality or are they just following in the footsteps of a social movement that may or may not actually effect them? I mean, they attend a school district that ensures they receive the very same education as anyone else in the district. That district is almost 100% run by well-paid African-American education executives who see to it that this is true. They play sports to their liking and most live in good homes with caring parents. This is generally not the case for people in poverty or those in dysfunctional situations — of all races. But that doesn’t mean this is the case for everyone in the African-American community. Maybe they need to meet some of the many, many African-Americans who serve and have served in our military. Maybe African-American leaders in our school district and city need to enlighten them as to how much the world has to offer them despite what the media says. I really am curious exactly what their beef is. A generic statement such as, “Basically right now, the flag doesn’t’ mean what it’s supposed to, to me” is not a good answer.

  5. This is one of those rare times when I totally agree with the DeKalb County School District.

  6. chamblee getting screwed

    So typical. Typical of DeKalb County for supporting these students with a “safe place.” The thermometer may say we are having an Indian summer, but there are evidently snowflakes running rampant. These girls should thank their lucky stars that they have the freedom to play softball and the coaches and teachers should require them to stand. You are in school are representing your school. You don’t have a right to kneel. You stand and you respect the flag, dammit.

  7. I advocate for the First Amendment across the board. I hope the freedom of students to express themselves will be vigilantly defended across the political and religious spectrums.

    The student didn’t express how they were currently being oppressed or what the flag is supposed to mean, to them.

  8. To clarify – I don’t want to demand that anyone stand for the flag. I personally respect the flag, as I have several members of the military in my family and due to my experiences around the world, I am fully aware of and appreciate the freedoms we enjoy in the USA. I just really, really want these girls to articulate exactly what it is that they are protesting. As far as I can tell, they enjoy pretty good lives – really no different from their white, Hispanic, Asian or other counterparts.

  9. Adrienne Duncan

    Stan, has DeKalb Schools in its recent history (recent =< 20 years) gone to this extent to support and defend the "free speech" rights of students in any other circumstance? Prayers before football or other sports, for example? Conservative political clubs? Religion-oriented club activities? Political campaign t-shirts or other clothing?
    Couldn't find anything on Google but my keywords may be off the mark. The answer would go a long way toward determining whether this is selectively endorsing a POV or current bandwagon vs true First Amendment concerns.

  10. Tim DeBardelaben

    So if Cross Keys High forms a sit in protest to show that they want more Hispanic teachers and administrators. They have never been treated fairly between overcrowding and lack of equal representation DCSD will support that protest? Don’t think so. Just because you can speak Spanish does not mean you understand the culture nor does it make a role model for those students. DCSD has proven that diversity is not their real goal. Only wasting our money and sending the wrong messages to the students. Guess the Pledge of allegiance to the flag has gone the way of prayer in schools.

  11. Adrienne Duncan

    Maybe there’s a bright side. Perhaps they were protesting the rampant sexual assault in Hollywood?

  12. I would love to give a basic history test to anyone has chosen to kneel. Do they know what the flag stands for? Who wrote and how the National Anthem came about? They history of our wars, and the birth of our country? Our founders? The Constitution, who wrote and signed it and all that it stands for? Everyone kneeling is trying to insight fury, not make a difference. If you want to make a difference , go out into the world and do good! These idiotic football players are at work. They signed a contract to play ball and follow the rules of the NFL. I want to watch them play football, not divide us even more!

  13. @Tim >> I couldn’t agree with you more. I would like DCSD to show that they have hired Hispanic teachers proportionate to the Hispanic population in the district, which the last I heard was about 12-14%. This is a cultural thing – they need and deserve teachers who understand their language and culture. Plus, they need and deserve the same funding as other schools in DeKalb. They have long been shorted on building improvements, teaching materials, sports facilities and equipment and overall support (even though ESOL students get extra funding – along with the Title 1 Funding). These students deserve to protest — problem is, they would be protesting their treatment by the now African-American leaders, who cannot be criticized these days. Segregation and discrimination still exist in DCSD, the power has simply changed hands. If you have time, read the original lawsuit claiming discrimination and demanding desegregation filed by African-Americans that put the district under a federal court for over 25 years. At the time, the district was officially 5% African-American. Why not make this a teachable moment rather than a reactionary one? Perhaps these girls need to read about that case, and then visit Cross Keys to compare their current situation to the one in 1968 in DeKalb. Pretty much the same thing but different >> http://russelldoc.galib.uga.edu/russell/view?docId=ead/RBRL056DCS-ead.xml

  14. “This is arguably one step short of burning the flag and is a slap in the face to everyone who has served to defend it.” I am floored at this comment and at most of the comments on this post. Has anyone taken the time to actually listen to (or read about) this issue? Racial Injustice. THIS is what this is about. Bottom line – People of color are not treated fairly in our country. They are, as a whole, treated with less respect than their white counterparts. I am a good ol’ fashioned white woman born and raised in Atlanta, and I sure as heck feel the need to take a knee. I am acknowledging that many others are not given the same respect that I am. Imagine the difference in feelings a 16 year old African American feels if being pulled over for a broken taillight vs. a 16 year old Caucasian boy. FEAR vs. ignorant bliss. Can you not see it? Can you not see how Colin Kaepernick feels that the flag, in all its glory, has left him behind? Can you see how he feels like “the land of the free” kind of says, “Oh, except for some of you thugs who we know are doing bad things,” based on the color of his skin? I am proud of these girls for essentially saying, “We see it too. And we want the world to see that we see it.” Because only when we acknowledge that we have a problem can we begin to fix it. Wow. I really really hope some of you read this and really think about what I’ve said.

  15. Here’s a case >> “A Sikh middle school student reported incidents of physical and verbal bullying based upon his religion and national origin to DeKalb County School District (“DCSD”) officials for years. When the incidents didn’t stop, the student sought counsel from the Sikh Coalition. In October 2012, the Sikh Coalition began representing the student, placed DCSD on notice of ongoing harassment, and demanded safety plans and effective remedial measures to diminish the hostile educational environment, including anti-harassment training. After repeated inaction from DCSD, counsel for the Sikh Coalition filed complaints with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (“DOJ”) alleging violations of federal law. With authority to investigate and resolve complaints of religious and national origin harassment through its enforcement of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and following an inquiry into the student-specific complaints, DOJ notified DCSD of its concerns that it had failed to respond promptly and appropriately to the Sikh Coalition’s allegations of harassment. DOJ also found that the disciplinary measures the district did take had not been effective in ending the harassment, and that the student feared continued harassment.”

    Let’s see … who was superintendent in 2013?

    https://www.clearinghouse.net/detail.php?id=13773

  16. Back to the DeKalb discrimination case >>
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1991-10-06/news/9103310371_1_desegregation-oklahoma-city-case-supreme-court

    (October, 1991 – about 25 years after the suit was first filed)

    “School officials want the Supreme Court to overturn an 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that ordered the school board to undertake aggressive desegregation efforts, possibly including mandatory busing, to equalize and integrate the predominantly white schools in northern DeKalb and the black schools in the southern part of the county.

    The Bush administration has sided with DeKalb officials, saying that the appeals court`s approach “pointlessly would prolong judicial control of hundreds of school districts“ that have met their legal obligations.

    But parents suing the district in the class-action suit argue that black children have been shortchanged by the resegregated system. They contend that black schools have received less money, less-experienced teachers and fewer library books than white schools. Lawyers for the parents accuse school officials of contributing to the housing segregation by not taking steps to avoid creating one-race schools.

    Sam Williams, a businessman involved in the lawsuit for the past two years, calls the school system racist and says it has “done very little to encourage full desegregation“ of the schools.”

  17. Bill Armstrong

    You don’t have to be on the receiving end of injustice in order to be moved to address it = you don’t need to be an oppressed victim before you can kneel to protest what you consider a social failing in your own country.

  18. Tim DeBardelaben

    I’m going to go to a place that is politically incorrect. The Blacks are in control of DCSD and everybody knows that Blacks will not discriminate because they know oppression. When you focus on hiring teachers from Chicago you have to be trying to hire the diversity that DCSD claims they represent. Dr. Green needs to be fired. Since he has been hired, rules mean nothing. Our BOE has fallen back int Taj Mahal mentality. Spend it as fast as you can and reward incompetence.

  19. True Bill. I’m just not sure that these girls fully understand or can articulate what they are ‘protesting’ — I have a feeling they are just following the current social media thing to do.

  20. StuckInTheMiddle

    Let’s review… the largest group of oppressed people are quite arguably considered to be women, which, ironically, outnumber men around the world. Some countries discriminate by not allowing them to drive cars, initiate a divorce, make contracts, go to certain places, and forced to obey dress codes. Other countries, with a law limiting families to one child, female fetuses are often aborted or female babies sometimes killed. In Pakistan sentiment is so strong against girls being taught to read that a teen aged female activist was the victim of an attempted assassination.

    For Colin Kaepernick and his followers, I challenge them to look outside their opinion of what this country lacks, and instead look to what it has to offer. The inalienable right to ‘take a knee’ without fear of persecution/execution is one of many luxuries that so many other people in this world can only dream about. That gives me a little bit of pride, how about you?

  21. Truthfully, I am all for freedom of speech and thought – but I am having trouble wrapping my head around exactly what these multi-million dollar athletes are protesting. If they felt so strongly about the plight of some African-Americans (mostly in poverty in the inner cities), then they should jump in with both feet and find a way to help (ie: Boys & Girls Clubs) with all their money and fame. Perhaps speak to young people — perhaps sponsor some young boys who have no male leaders in their immediate circles. Blaming ‘some’ police officers for what is going on in places like St. Louis and Chicago is denial of the crux of the true problem. Blame in general is the crux of the problem. How about this idea … What if all African-Americans refused to work in the prison system – as it is so unfair to young black men? Why not protest friendships with those who would hold people in jail unfairly? Why participate and collect a paycheck from a system you say is unfair? How can you claim the school system is unfair when its leadership is now almost 100% black? Is there a point at which people will admit that the United States really isn’t some godawful, horrible, ruthless place? I am only saying – yes, bad things have happened, but don’t paint all police with that broad stroke. If you do, then you can’t complain when some people paint young black men with the same broad stroke. In reality, things are pretty darn good for most Americans. Lets all focus on the things we can personally do to make things better for those who may struggle. Take a knee, but take it in prayer, and while you’re down there, take a moment to honestly look at yourself and what you can personally do to make this world better.

  22. Stan, wow. I expected a more sophisticated understanding from you. Being concerned about discrimination in America has nothing to do with whether any individual has been in the military. This concern is something we should expect from every American. Remember “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal …”? The choice of how to express one’s concern is indeed protected by the first amendment. Kaepernick chose kneeling, and his choice has resonated with others, because kneeling is a signal of respect. Men kneel when proposing marriage, Britons kneel when being knighted, American soldiers knelt in Afghanistan to show villagers respect and that they meant them no harm… Instead of fretting about the form of the players’ statement, fret about why they feel a statement needs to be made. Are we treated everyone equally or is there systematic discrimination that needs to be addressed? That’s a question worth worrying over. The posture of a high-schooler for two minutes before a sports contest is not.

  23. They are kneeling to show respect? Hardly. I agree with your implication that kneeling for the national anthem is shameful and I appreciate your efforts to frame it another way.

  24. I can assure you that those 16 year old girls do indeed understand what they are kneeling for. Nearly every black person in America is concerned about being pulled over for a broken tail light. Every single innocent but black person we saw or heard about who was killed at the hands of a rogue or fearful cop had family members and friends who cared for them.
    If everyone stating concern about maltreatment of our flag would show just a bit of concern about innocent people of color being killed so brutally and so frequently, we would not be having this discussion. Many of you write as if you think people kneeling are not deserving of consideration in this matter.
    Do you think those murdered people they are kneeling about are not worthy of your consideration?
    Why not? Is blackness associated with criminality in your mind?
    My oldest son was five years old when he asked me why all the black people on tv were bad people. What a shame and what a lesson that was. We had to make changes in what he saw and read in order to find positive images of black people. That does not mean they do not exist. It means they are like the hidden figures of the space program. They are not readily seen when those in charge of what you see and learn have discriminated against ot been hostile toward people of color. Positive images abound in most of black real life stories. Black images are not so positive in the media. That is a fact of black life. Ask any black American if they believe that to be true.
    If you continue to define the Dekalb school administration as a black one then you stand to enhance divisiveness rather than cohesiveness in seeking to improve the system for all Dekalb County children.
    Why would you think it appropriate to define an administration by color instead of by action or lack therof. Should we re-define the Jim Cherry or any other white-led administration as a white one? What does such a description mean to you? Is there something about color that has real relevance? Do you believe that white students are discriminated against? Do you think a black-led administration is enabled to teach something other than what the state and or school board decides is best for all of our children to learn? Do you think it enables them to stop overcrowding of schools in sone neighborhoods or to magically reverse the effects of years of discrimination against minority students without everyone in the system, i.e., parents, students, teachers, administrators and the school boards working together? Do you see that black children are favored in classrooms or at the highest scoring schools or in Dekalb County? I don’t see that. I see an administration hindered by a board and state failing to wirk together to make changes that will enhance learning for all students. Why are we focusing on divisiveness with this issue instead of focusing on what will it take to make all of our schools good ones.
    I disagree that kneeling is a slap in the face. It is not mesnt as a hostile action at all. When I kneel in church I am praying. When people kneel or bow before royalty it is a sign of respect. The kneeling you see by our athletes and students is a sign of respect to our flag and country. It is also a plea to White Americams to actually look at what is happening in our country.
    I view a hostile reaction as an excuse to continue ignoring the injustice meted against people of color.
    I am confident in my assertion to you that black Americans believe we are Americans first. Our patriotism is learned, like that of most Americans, at home, at school and in service to this great nation. We have been here longer than most immigrants and we comprise every ethnicity. We are truly a melting pot of Americans. We love and fight for our country and our flag. We also love our sons and daughters, mothers, fathers and other family members. We want them to return home safely. We want the same things and have the same dreams, hopes and ideals. We want hostile actions against us because of our color to cease, no matter where those actions take place.
    People who see this flag issue as a hostile action from the kneelers should stop using that as an excuse for a hostile reaction. They should try to see it as the plea it truly is. See what is happening to people of color. Open you heart, your eyes and your minds before you leave this world. Show concern for your fellow Americans who are dying because of hate, fear and injustice. We are one human race. We are one American people.
    We are also one Dekalb county with one school system. We need to work together to make it a great one. We each came into this world by birth and we will each leave it by death. No color has an advantage over these facts of life. No color should cause people to have their life journey cut short or be hindered either.
    Kneeling Americans are pleading for you to see what you have refused to thus far.

  25. “Slap in the face” – is a figurative expression meaning insult or reject. A literal slap in the face is assault. These girls and Kaepernick are exercising their First Amendment rights and I will always support the First Amendment. While protected by the First Amendment, their actions are an insult to the flag and this country.

    Assault is violence and there is no place for violence on the left or the right unless you are defending yourself.

  26. Bill Armstrong

    To any saying anything along the lines “why don’t these spoiled athletes stop kneeling & actually do something to help address our problems” – they do. Many NFL players – like many in all sports – donate tens of millions of dollars of their own money and what they raise through various foundations & charities, often for causes that mean something personal for them. Some publicly, others more quietly. Many dedicate significant hours of their time as well.

    You can always Google – but here’s a start. Hope the links work from my phone.

    http://www.sbnation.com/platform/amp/2017/9/29/16375378/nfl-players-charity-donations-jj-watt-hurricane-harvey-patrick-peterson-foundation

    Not all of these guys are kneeling, but many of those who don’t, support their teammates who do.

    As for the original bad guy:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/early-lead/wp/2017/09/15/nfl-players-union-names-colin-kaepernick-its-week-1-mvp-for-his-charity-work/

    Point being – why can’t they do both? Take action in many ways – call attention in others?

  27. I would like to apologize for hitting the send button before correcting all of my misspellings.

  28. Tim DeBardelaben

    First to be an effective protest it needs to offer a solution to the so called problem. This one is just complaining because they do not like the way they are being treated. Think everybody in in America knows race relations are not what they should be. All this protest is doing at this point is giving President Trump an issue to rally his base and getting more people to listen to him. It is not advocating for a solution it is just dividing the country into two sides that if continuously pushed one day will blow up and destroy this country. As I pointed out before the Black power structure in DCSD is as oppressive as the White power structure before it. DCSD was sued and put under court order supervision when there was approximately 5% Blacks in DCSD. Now they’re 12% Hispanics in DCSD. What has the Black Power structure done to improve the plight of Hispanic students? Have they hired more role models who understand the Hispanic culture? This was one of the things the Court said DCSD had to do for the Black students. Suggest the students at Cedar Grove are being taught the wrong civic lesson and that DCSD needs to learn what true leadership is and it is not breaking rules and encouraging students to do the same. DCSS and the BOE need to clean their own act before criticizing other people about their actions.

  29. I agree with much of what you write Tim. All students need support. I have been a parent with children in the Dekalb system for thirty years and I have never seen this school system work well to educate all students. It has been a never ending struggle for my family, my children and my grandchild. It should not be hard to find a good school in every area of the county, yet it is impossible for most of the parents I know. That is shameful.

    I do not see the so-called “Black Power” structure you describe as having effective power. If they did, every student would be learning in an environment that met their individual needs. I choose to believe the newest administrators are doing the best they can with the resources at hand. They received a broken and failing system.
    What is happening now has not changed in the thirty years I have experienced having a student in this system. There are still more problems than solutions. What I want to know is what we can do to help make it better. I want to know what I can do.

    I would like to see a joining together to work towards a solution that meets every child’s needs. Just as with the justice system, if we are divisive or if we fail to find a common ground then we will have difficulty finding a solution that works. It matters to me that we build a school system that works to educate all students.

    Stan, whatever, your truth is, it differs from mine, yet I believe it is just as valid. I fully respect that you apparently feel slapped in the face by the actions of these students and the atheletes. I, too, wish they could find another way to get you to get their message. The question remains as to whether both sides of this issue will hear what the other side is saying and act together to making a positive change.
    Your hostility towards their actions may amplify what appears to be a lack of concern for their well-being as Americans. Perhaps you should engage in a dialogue with the students to ask them what they believe instead of making assumptions about it.
    Nothing I write will change your opinion or your insult to my intelligence. In no way did I imply that kneeling was shameful. My belief is that kneeling is a form of respect or obeisance in all situations. I hear what these kneelers are saying. I believe that respect should flow in both directions here, too, sir. Only you can open your mind to someone else’s truth. In case there is doubt, I send this with respectful intent.

  30. Tell me about the specific instance of bigotry, discrimination, injustice, etc … and I will stand beside you. It’s that easy to come together. Kneeling for the national anthem is just disrespectful and not a constructive way to come together.

    The on-ramp to the middle class is a simple formula.
    1. Stay in school
    2. Stay out of jail
    3. Don’t impregnate someone or get pregnant until you’re married

  31. Tim DeBardelaben

    Stan, in principle I agree with what you say. Unfortunately you are passing on your personal morale convictions about marriage and you are talking about making it to middleclass. What happened to shooting for upper class America. Doctors, lawyers and CEO’s. That is the problem with youth today. They look at the pro athletes and think that is the way to reach the top. Now DCSD is validating there thoughts. By doing nothing about the protest DCSD is showing that athletes can get away with their actions.
    Someone needs to point out to these students that freedom is not free. If this protest spreads through the sports in Dekalb, I wonder how it will effect College recruitment at Dekalb Schools. Doubt Colleges will won’t protesters on their teams . Dekalb students use to be heavily recruited because our academic level was so high that colleges didn’t have to worry about the athletes being able to do the work. At Briarcliff we had one of the worst Football teams in the county. We also would send 5 or 6 players a year to school on football scholarships. Now with DCSD turning out mediocre students how recruited is the system? So by letting the athletes DCSD is doing a disservice to the students by hurting their chance of using sports to get that full ride. The students may not be smart enough to see further than the end of their nose but isn’t that why we elect the BOE? You can spend $14 million to put artificial turf on practice fields but that is not going to help the athletes get scholarships if the system is known for troublemakers.
    Dr. Green once again has proven his lack of leadership skills and should be fired.

  32. Could it have anything to do with ‘Falcons Fridays’ that the district is pushing out to many schools and glorifying through counseling departments? Another program that has little to do with academic achievement.

  33. Mark, can you tell me more about ‘Falcons Fridays?’

    I wouldn’t like to think that the District is pushing something of value to some schools but not others. There has been no mention of this at any schools in my area.

    What does ‘glorifying through counseling departments’ mean?

    I’m suspicious of favoritism and ‘rah rah’ stuff that has little to do with academic achievement. I would put ‘academic pep rallies’ in this same category.

  34. @BookWoman >> First, let me say, that my [white] niece was downtown with friends late one Friday night when they were pulled over by an Atlanta police officer. The officer smashed out their tail light with his club and proceeded to ‘inform’ them that their tail light was out. Yes, it was terrifying. And yes, I agree that many police officers have taken their power to their egos. But I (and she) don’t paint all police officers with that broad brush due to one officer’s behavior – many police officers are good – just like many regular people are good. Most people I know are not racist or prejudiced. Truly. We do have a problem in this country — and I think it’s that the fringe is getting all of the attention – on both sides. Regular people need to come together in support of one another.

    I did mention that DeKalb schools leadership is currently mostly black. The point is – yes – decades ago – DeKalb was a segregated school district. Back then, the black students only made up 5% of the total but they were all sent to the same schools and given inferior materials. Former board member Jay Cunningham can tell you about the days when their books would ‘show up’ on the back steps of the school sometime over the summer. By the time someone took them in, they had been rained on and rotted from the hot sun. It was horrible. But we have come far forward in my opinion. I say to the black leaders of today – make sure that you are not doing to Hispanics what was done to you. Power is power and it has a way of making people behave in ways they wouldn’t if they had no power.

    Black leadership has had control of the over one billion dollar annual purse strings of DeKalb schools for decades now. Johnny Brown, our first black superintendent did a decent job in my opinion. But decisions he made [such as enforcing uniforms] riled so many people that the board actually fired him – sending him off with a nice big check. In 2004, his replacement, long-time administrator and former principal of the year, Dr. Lewis had an opportunity to turn things around, and at first did some great things, but he squandered his power, abused his position and wasted millions upon millions of dollars of resources, ending up charged with racketeering along with Pat Pope, his CEO and head of SPLOST construction. Lewis and Pope did the most damage to the district in my opinion. Ramona Tyson, with no superintendent experience, was appointed to fill in, and tried to keep things together for a few years, but during her tenure, test scores plummeted for black students. I have no understanding of what happened to Dr. Cheryl Atkinson. She simply went AWOL one day. Then the board went searching for a replacement … ending up with Dr. Green, who has actually stood the test of time and seems to be doing a good job. So yes, black administrators have had control for a while now – and I’m only saying this because it’s hard to call out discrimination when your leadership is the same race and has been in control for nearly two decades.

    You say, “Perhaps you should engage in a dialogue with the students to ask them what they believe instead of making assumptions about it.” Well, that is pretty much what I am asking. Really – I don’t understand exactly what this protest is about. I wish someone would explain it. In detail – not just ‘we live in a country that oppresses black people, and people of color, when if you really look, the athletes protesting, make millions – these girls protesting have nice homes and good lives. Why would a parent or teacher or coach want them to focus on the inequities that exist rather than the opportunities? I’m not saying that prejudices don’t exist – they do. Inequities exist – especially regarding wealth and money – across all races. But I continue to believe that this country – more than any other – offers an awful lot of opportunity for anyone willing to take hold of it. Anyone.

  35. Tim DeBardelaben

    Cere, you might think Dr. Green is doing a good job but I don’t. Students today thanks to the internet are much more knowledgeable about the operations of DCSD. Since Dr. Green took over rules have been thrown out the window and deception has become the normal way of doing business by DCSD. This is sending the wrong message to the students. DCSD is responsible for educating our future leaders. Not just book learning, but also character building.. The smart students see how things are being run and are being taught this is the norm when in reality it should not be.
    As far as the protest goes and Dr. Green’s response. DCSD is a government entity. As such it is their responsibility to promote unity with diversity. This protest was originally started by a communist sympathizer. Wonder what would happen if athletes in Cuba would protest the National Anthem under Fidel Castro? Doubt there would be much discussion about rights. Sports should be one of the great uniters in life. You have a team with one purpose and that is to win the game. Now for some reason sports has become a divisive political agenda. For Dr. Green to be so short sighted to say he supports the protest is showing his lack of leadership and his inability to educate the students to how great America really is today. Yes we still have problems that need correcting, but you never influence people by insulting them first. To many people have been offended for this protest to be effective. Few people talk about the cause, most people talk about the form of the protest. It has done more harm to race relations than it has helped. The only person that has benefited from the protest is President Trump.

  36. @Tim >> Can you give specific examples of how “rules have been thrown out the window and deception has become the normal way of doing business”? When I published a blog about DCSD, I always prefaced my opinion with – “this is my opinion”. But I tried as best I could to strictly publish facts with documentation and let people form their own opinions. A really great journalist taught me that. Sadly, this is not how journalism is today … today we are simply treated to a plethora of opinions and we are supposed to align ourselves with one or the other. This is causing major division, while people still do not have real information. That’s why I ask — do you have specifics to back up your opinion? I’m fine with you stating your opinion, but be clear that it’s your opinion – or give us factual examples of why you think the way you do.

  37. formerdekalbparent

    When our child wore his blue jeans and not that ridiculous uniform at Cedar Grove, he was subjected to ISS or a change of their clothes if we could not bring any to him. We were livid. Let’s talk about the first amendment. We quickly got out child out of that school. He is excelling at Henry County

  38. Good point … where do we draw the line? Political slogans? Gang signs?

  39. Tim DeBardelaben

    Cere, I would be happy to give a few examples of what I was referring to.
    When they named the John Lewis E.S.. they did not follow DCSD written policy on naming schools. First they did not have the required number of people on the committee. Second they did not get community feedback as required by their own written policy. When I questioned Marshall Orson who was the Chairman of the committee about this, his reply was they did not have enough time. BOE knew they were opening that school and because they drug their feet they felt that was a good enough excuse to throw the rules out the window. Besides what does running out of time have to do with getting the proper number of people on a committee? When Stan started to question about naming of the school Dr. Morley and Ms. Turner played the race card and cut him off. When he questioned whether the people in Brookhaven would want that name, they told him the people in Brookhaven had better get use to it. Stan might be able to give more information on this than me but I have been told that the few community members on the committee had trouble communicating and half of them had know idea who John Lewis is. Stan please correct me if I have misstated anything.

    Next look at the passing of ESPLOST. The law requires a specific list of projects that the money would be used for. DCSD had always followed the law and given exactly what project and the cost of the project. This past ESPLOST vote all they gave was a vague generic letter of the projects that the money would be used for. If I had known that they were planning on spending $14 million on artificial turf for H.S. practice fields and $800,000 on demolition of buildings I would have never voted to pass ESPLOST. Maybe I am wrong but do not think any of these projects meet the intent of ESPLOST money. To me this money should be used for capital IMPROVEMENTS for educational purposes. Tearing buildings down and not reusing the property is not improving anything nor is it helping to improve the education of the students. How does artificial turf improve the education of Dekalb students? To spend ESPLOST money that is the first requirement that needs to be met. Once again when I asked why DCSD changed the way they presented their so called project list, they used the same excuse that they did not have time. So once again BOE did not do their job in a timely manner and then used it as an excuse.
    As far as being deceptive, DCSD when asked about how they based their spending on the Cross Keys cluster, they will say that is what the parents want according to the survey they took. They do not tell you that 70% of the responses came back from one school in Dunwoody. Not sure but if you say the parents from Cross Keys want something you should not be basing this on responses from Dunwoody.

    Another case of being deceptive is BOE passing a vote to rebuild a new H.S. on the Briarcliff location or cost equivalent location. DCSD never had any intention of building on that location. Otherwise they would not have budgeted $85 million for new High School. Cobb County built a 2500 seat High School this year for $48 million by reusing property that their High School sat on.

    To me the biggest deception that DCSD is doing is the fact that BOE has voted for improvements for existing schools and building new schools without saying how they are going to redistrict the students. In my opinion you state your redistricting plan and then you decide how to improve your infrastructure to accomplish that plan.
    DCSD talks about improving the overcrowding of the Cross Keys cluster is their highest priority. It has been three years since this hit a boiling point and all we know for sure is Lakeside is getting another addition which has nothing to do with relieving the Cross Keys cluster. As a matter of fact DCSD plans on making Sagamore a split feeder school where Lakeside will be shipping students to the new High School wherever that might be. We also know that Dunwoody H.S will get new addition. We also know that Chamblee H.S. our newest H.S.already needs an addition. We also know Cross Keys will be converted into a Middle school What is still not known is what the complete plan is to relieve the overcrowding. DCSD is saying trust them and yet they do nit follow the rules and everything they have been doing since Dr. Green took over has been shady.
    One other thing that I am speculating on when I say this…Emory will end up with the Briarcliff site. Been told by several BOE members that plan on site after demolition is to ask county to rezone the property. How will DCSD know which zoning to ask for unless they already know the buyer????

  40. Tim DeBardelaben

    Forgot another case of not following the law by DCSS. On June 14 DCSD was issued a citation by Dekalb Building enforcement for allowing graffiti at Briarcliff and leaving building not being unsecured. They never corrected the problem.
    Also before they did asbestos abatement at Briarcliff, the law required them to inform the EPA before the work was started. Do not believe DCSD followed this law either.

  41. Tim DeBardelaben

    One last comment then back to Falcons. Finally somebody posted the obvious. Minors do not have the same rights as adults. If you think they do you are opening a can of worms for all parents and teachers.

  42. Bill Armstrong

    “Wonder what would happen if athletes in Cuba would protest the National Anthem under Fidel Castro? Doubt there would be much discussion about rights.”

    Exactly. You might want to reread and perhaps reconsider that line of argument. As if you think that supports your position, than you might be surprised that the kneelers would agree, the rights that allow them to kneel don’t exist in Cuba. I certainly hope you aren’t saying they shouldn’t exist here.

  43. Tim DeBardelaben

    Bill, my point is that the protest that these children are supporting was started by a communist sympathizer. To me that is a very important point. The communist sympathizer chose to attack America and it’s symbols of Freedom. Do children have the same rights as rights as adults in America? No they do not. Is it part of the government in America to teach the children about the good and the bad in America? Yes it is but the no part of our government should condone supporting anything to do with a communist protest. DCSD is a government entity. Because they are a government entity they should not allow children to protest anything critical of the USA. The lesson that should be taught is how far we as a country HAD come. Now I think race relations have been set back at least 20 years. Coli Kaepernick has accomplished what he wanted. He has divided the country. Do you think by insulting a large segment of America that it really helps influence the people that you want to change? All this protest is about is bitching. Tell me a successful protest that has ever worked that didn’t have a solution to the problem. All DCSD has done is encourage social unrest. Dr. Green should be fired for allowing this to occur. As I said before… Would he allow all the Hispanic students to speak only Spanish on Monday as a peaceful protest of their treatment by DCSD or would he do something about it. Thus proving their point that they’re are treated differently.

  44. Thanks Tim – It’s always easier to have a discussion about facts are actions rather than opinions. A lot of the problems are caused by the Board as well – even going back to the day when they voted to take away contributions to the teacher’s annuities (which were in lieu of Social Security) – and in doing so, broke their own policy to which the board chair at the time, Tom Bowen chirped ‘the Board can choose to change its policies at any time’. That brash statement reinforced my lack of trust in them, their policies and their motivations. I have to admit, I don’t know much about Green – I gave up the DSW blog when he was first hired.

  45. Bill Armstrong

    Tim:
    “Bill, my point is that the protest that these children are supporting was started by a communist sympathizer. To me that is a very important point. The communist sympathizer chose to attack America and it’s symbols of Freedom.”
    “Communist sympathizer” or not, he is a US Citizen, and has the exact same right to express himself under our Constitution, as do you or I, or anyone protected under our Constitution, for that matter. His political affiliation has no significance at all. Nobody’s does. Ever. And it never should.

    “Do children have the same rights as rights as adults in America? No they do not.”
    The rights of children in our Country are a complicated matter, and as it applies to 1st Amendment in Government schools often requires court review – school newspapers, etc. Unless there is a compelling reason otherwise, I support children’s rights as much as possible. I see no such reason here.

    “Is it part of the government in America to teach the children about the good and the bad in America? Yes it is . . . ” Got that right. With as little editorial as possible.

    “ . . But the no part of our government should condone supporting anything to do with a communist protest.” There is no evidence that this is in any way a Communist protest, by Kaeperkick or anyone else, including these students. In fact – quite the contrary. They say they are protesting for equal rights under Constitutional protections not found in Communist countries. And permitting it to happen is not the same as “condoning” it. It’s how the 1st Amendment works. I hope they are teaching that in our schools – pretty sure they are.

    “DCSD is a government entity. Because they are a government entity they should not allow children to protest anything critical of the USA.”

    Really? That is how Freedom of Speech is handled in many dictatorships. It is suppressed, often not permitted. Perhaps you should study history, and current events. I find that statement stunning.

    “The lesson that should be taught is how far we as a country HAD come.”
    They teach that as well. You can teach that, as well as how far we have to go, at the same time.

    “Now I think race relations have been set back at least 20 years. Coli Kaepernick has accomplished what he wanted. He has divided the country.”
    In the eyes of some – sure. But many would maintain that Trump has done more to divide this Country than anyone. In a very long time – way beyond 20 years. Others would say he has used the already-existing divisions to his advantage, during the election and since. Some say both. I will agree with this – we are more divided in the Country since I’ve been alive. I would say this issue of division is much more a symptom than a cause.

    “Do you think by insulting a large segment of America that it really helps influence the people that you want to change?”
    Many would say that Trump, many of his sympathizers and some of his supporters are being equally insulting to a large segment of America as well. I would. But you know what? That is their Constitutional right. The 1st Amendment doesn’t require decorum. And it shouldn’t.

    “All this protest is about is bitching.”
    I’m not taking it that way. Many people aren’t. In fact many are taking the time to listen, and maybe ever learn about why their fellow citizens are expressing themselves this way. I take it as way to call attention, not bitch.

    “Tell me a successful protest that has ever worked that didn’t have a solution to the problem.”
    I think that the solution for at least some, most, if not all, is that perhaps some observers, sympathetic or not, will take action to stop the unjust treatment of their fellow Americans from continuing. Some have decided that previous efforts, whether being effective or not, need to be given a boost, more than a boost really, a kick in the butt. More than once in our country’s past have we needed a collective kick. Push. Pull.

    In the given environment many have been pushing back, kicking back, the protesters would say some even killing back. They are moved to protest.

    “All DCSD has done is encourage social unrest. Dr. Green should be fired for allowing this to occur.”
    I would say DCSD has permitted free speech, the social unrest already existed. Big time.

    Fire Green? Not a solution, as it does remove the reasons behind the protest.

  46. chamblee getting screwed

    Maggie Adams – if that isn’t the biggest snowflake statement I’ve ever read, I don’t know what is. Poor Colin Kapernick? Give me a break! Colin had it made! He made it. He was the idiot that decided to blow it. And the poor black kids that face fear…really? Do what the cop says and you won’t find yourself in that situation. The problem is you and other glorify “protesting” and kids think it’s a way to be cool without having the slightest concept of what it’s about. They need to learn their history, which they won’t because they go to school in dekalb county.

  47. chamblee getting screwed

    Tim D is right – it’s always been about black vs. white in dekalb.

  48. chamblee getting screwed

    BookWoman – another snowflake liberal. If you are letting your 5 year old watch shows where black people are the bad guy, then maybe you need to do a little more parenting and a little less protesting. Maybe you shouldn’t let your kid watch those shows.

    And in case you had t realized it about DeKalb being pro-black and anti-white, how
    Many white superintendents have there been recently? How many white candidates were interviewed for the lead role. Why does the south side have all new facilities while the northside struggles in overcrowded buildings from the 1950s and 60s? And now, the social engineering with SPLOST V that is being driven by race. DeKalb will never be one school system until the blatant racist that occurs at the top of the administration is stopped. In other words, the system needs to do what’s best for the entire system and not think of things in black and white – which is exactly what you are doing.

  49. Tim DeBardelaben

    Bill, as much as you want this post to be about Kaepernick it is not about him and his protest. I agree that any adult in America has the right to peacefully protest anything they want to protest. As long as they have permission to do it on the property where it is occurring . That being said we are talking about children that are being influenced by a communist sympathizer. That is where I have a problem with DCSD allowing it to happen on government owned property. Have you ever seen the priest at DCSD Administration building on Mountain Blvd? DCSD makes those protesters stay off DCSD property. Is this not a double standard on DCSD part? Dr. Green should be fired for allowing his personal feelings about Kaepernick’s protest to influence his decision about what is best for the children of Dekalb County. Would he allow the students in Cross Keys cluster to form a peaceful protest about their treatment by DCSD?

  50. Tim DeBardelaben

    Why do people resort to name calling? If the Southside gets all the new schools where did Tucker H.S. and Chamblee H.S. Appear from? What about the new John Lewis E.S. Currently being built or the new $85million dollar H.S that will be built somewhere? I disagree with how DCSD is wasting money. Think if they did a better job managing the money there would be enough for all parts of the county. As a matter of fact if you look at the newest Esplost budget and I was a parent in South Dekalb I think I would be complaining.

  51. Bill Armstrong

    Tim:
    “Bill, as much as you want this post to be about Kaepernick it is not about him and his protest.”
    You were the one that based your argument on him, I simply responded to your post, point by point.
    You find significance in him being a “Communist sympathizer,” but few, if any, of the others in the NFL would consider themselves that. Many kneeled together, they linked arms. There was nothing about Communism – that’s NOT why they are kneeling.
    But it was certainly those images of many doing so on many teams, that really brought attention to his previous efforts – not just one player.
    And why did that come up? Trump. Kaepernick obviously hadn’t even had a chance to kneel before a game this season. The players acted in him support – AFTER Trump called him out. So why bring it up?

    “That being said we are talking about children that are being influenced by a communist sympathizer.”
    Our children are influenced by everything in the world they see. Good & bad. Not just “Communists.” But so what?

    “That is where I have a problem with DCSD allowing it to happen on government owned property.”
    Again, this has nothing to do about Communism, his or anyone else’s. Communism has nothing to do with him kneeling, or anyone else I’ve seen of in the Country. This line of argument is baffling. Can you please cite any evidence that other NFL players, or anyone else, these students or others, are kneeling in any way due to their support of Communism? Especially since you say that’s your issue.

  52. Bill Armstrong

    Screwed: “Do what the cop says and you won’t find yourself in that situation.”
    That’s simply not true – not always. More often than you must believe – blacks do exactly what the cops say & things still don’t go well. Especially if you think getting shot isn’t a good outcome. Belief that is the case goes to the root of this issue. And it’s not really just the incidents that make it on video – it’s the government’s response that is giving some motivation to protest.

    No – not all cops are bad. Very, very few are. But enough are, and enough departments have issues that need to be addressed, and in a better way. This is a part of the reason for these protests.

  53. Tim DeBardelaben

    Bill, sorry but this post is about the girls supporting a communist sympathizer protest against my country. You are an adult so you do have the right to support a protest started by a communist sympathizer. Children on school property do not have that right and to allow it is a double standard. Adults are not allowed to protest on school property. So kneel if you want to but I will stand for America. Yes they’re problems here but this protest is not helping race relations. If you think insulting a person is a way to get that person to change you are wrong. As far as treatment by Police most of whom are veterans like myself you are crazy if you think they will respect Blacks more. You want to blame society for all the ills when in reality you should be addressing real issues that you have solutions. All this post is about is a local issue and should be addressed like other protest on DCSD property. Maybe you should clean your own house before you criticize other peoples house. You are part of the problem not a part of the solution. My last words to you are God bless the USA and all the heroes who have given their all in it’s defenses.

  54. Bill Armstrong

    Tim:
    Would a “Communist sympathizer” be allowed to sing the National Anthem in your world?
    Pro, college, high school, doesn’t matter.

    Oh yeah, you say “my country” – it’s mine as well. His too. And you have no idea if he cares for “Our” Country more or less than you do. He is expressing himself differently than you would. I am too. But there is no reason to say he’s less of a Patriot than anyone else.

    “You are part of the problem not a part of the solution.” But then “If you think insulting a person is a way to get that person to change you are wrong.” So I’ll infer not intended as an insult. But I don’t think I’ll change either.

  55. Tim DeBardelaben

    Bill, you didn’t have to tell me you wouldn’t change. I already knew that. You are part of the problem. You are willing to overlook the discrimination perpetrated on the Hispanic students in Dekalb schools and advocate for DCSD to practice a double standard for the Black students. Reminds me of the 1960’s. Only difference is this time it is the Black Power Structure instead of the White one. Like I said ..clean your own house before you criticize others house.

  56. chamblee getting screwed

    Bill thinks of the 60s as a romancized period of American history and wants to relive it. Problem isn’t that this isn’t the 1960s. Cops should be respected and contrary to Bill’s opionion, they aren’t more cruel to blacks than whites. They do arrest disproportionately arrest more blacks – but more disproportionate crime is committed by blacks. Those are the facts. So we can kneel and be all upset. But cops are paid to do a job – stop bad guys. That is all they are doing.

  57. Bill Armstrong

    Tim: hold on when it comes to my views regarding Hispanics in our schools. I’m in Chamblee & I’m pretty sure Screwed would be glad to tell you just how misguided (wrong) I am when it comes to caring for & advocating equality in education for anyone not white. And last year on this site that was primarily Hispanics.

    Straighten him out Screwed.

  58. Glen Hernandez

    I have appreciated this blog as a source of information for years. However, I can’t adequately express how deeply disappointed I am in the majority of these comments. Reading this alone, it is evident why taking a knee is needed.

  59. Tim DeBardelaben

    So why did you stop? What is your feelings about the double standard of allowing one group to protest on DCSD property while denying that right to another group?

  60. Glen. That’s pretty vague. Can you expound on your comment?

  61. Chamblee, please stop spewing lies. If cops only got the bad guys there would be no issue and no protest. You guess poorly.
    Here’s more for you to think about:
    http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/41623019

  62. dekalbescapee

    My issue was and still is that the COACHES- employees of Dekalb County Schools joined in the kneeling. Now in the real world, when you are employed by a company or person, you are usually required to refrain from protesting or supporting your personal convictions while on the company’s time. That was my only issue. The students unfortunately are following their cultural icons of bad professional athletes, rappers, and reality tv stars. One day I can only hope they will “get it”. This was the public view of Dekalb Schools, and again, no the best representation.

  63. Bill Armstrong

    Tim:. Didn’t stop per see. I’ll confess not being nearly as vigilant lately – very busy w/3 kids in 3 schools – Huntley Hills ES, CMS & CCHS. I know that there has been much concern at different times this year – Spring & Fall, for my kids & peers regarding the potential plight of their Hispanic friends & classmates when it came to ICE raids, DACA, etc. I do know there was at least one “informal” demonstration at CCHS this year.

    So as for not permitting another protest at another school – I take it you are speaking of Cross Keys? Hispanic students? then I must say I’m not fully aware of the facts. But as a general rule, regardless of where or who, I would fully support the rights of any students to have such a protest, with some general understanding of a form that would not disrupt the school day, more the “when” & the “where” – but generally not the “what” (of course no calls to violence, etc.), and certainly no restriction on the “who” other than outsiders coming on campus. As for the “why” which seems to be a factor on this issue, I see no reason to really ask – that’s their thing.

    BUT – if there has been a double standard than I would 100% oppose it. As I say – off my radar, but not because I don’t care, just only so much time in the day. I’ve always tried to do what I can for DeKalb education, not just my kids, but their schools (school Councils & the like), and all of DeKalb when I can. Including going to board meetings, emails/calls, etc. to administration & board members, communicating with the press, whatever I think I can be most effective, going back 14 years since my oldest started pre-K. But I could always do better. I’ve backed off some lately – I do not want to overpromise or under-deliver. I know there are many that do FAR more than me. THANKS! But I try.

    But back to your question, please inform me more. Double standards, especially along ethnic/racial lines (gender, sexual orientation & religion as well) – beyond unacceptable. If this is something you’ve been fighting for – then thanks.

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