I was disappointed and disturbed by the divisive statement made by Dr. Morley at our last Board of Education meeting.
DeKalb Board of Education
DeKalb County is home to a diverse community that embraces the rich cultural mosaic of all our friends and neighbors. Vilifying and unfairly characterizing anyone based on race is wrong and hurtful. In this stressful time, it is more important than ever to be kind and respectful to each other.
The children across DeKalb and the students in our district deserve for their leaders to demonstrate goodwill and collegiality towards one another and the entire community. I hope that this unfortunate comment will be contemplated by the Board and result in real efforts to heal the wounds it has created. Our county and children deserve nothing less.
DeKalb Schools Board of Education
Dr. Joyce Morley
DeKalb Board of Education
DeKalb Schools Board of Education member Joyce Morley said on Monday,
“You can put signs up and as Ms Turner asked, who’s going to make them go through the hallways? Because I guarantee you there are gonna be those who are going to be defiant. You give an inch and they gonna take a yard … and they’re Whites … and we know that.”
I received this heartfelt email from Angela D. and wanted to share it with you.
For the past 15 years, Angela has been a local preschool teacher and advocate for children with special needs and social justice issues. She has a multi racial family and is the mother of two children within the Dekalb County School District. She and her husband, an army veteran, are active members in the community.
Angela D. writes,
“In between helping my kids with school, trying to accomplish some work of my own, and getting dinner on the table I tried to sit down for a few minutes and tune into what I knew was going to be a very intense DeKalb County School Board meeting this past Monday.
Our new superintendent was announcing a plan to phase our children back to school. As I watched things unfold, my heart began to sink. Dr Morley, a school board member began to speak in a way that was divisive and degrading to the white members of our community. I was appalled. I have watched other board meetings and I observed that Dr. Joyce Morley is a deeply passionate woman. Passion, I can respect. You cannot sustain a career in education without it. What I saw was not a passion to advocate for every family in our district.
We are all living under a great deal of stress and trauma due to the pandemic and other things happening in our world. Our schools need to be a safe place for everyone. I was upset about the plan put forth as I feel it is completely unattainable. Over the next couple of days, though, I became even more upset about the things that I had heard Dr Morley say.
Referring to enforcing everyone to wear masks she said,
“You can put signs up…. But I can guarantee you that there are those that will be defiant. You give an inch; they are going to take a yard. And they are Whites. And we know that.”
So, in a hypothetical situation, a voting board member was placing blame on “whites” calling them defiant. This is just one of many examples that can be seen during the meeting.
If Stan Jester had thought to even utter words in a similar vein about the black community, it would have been a blood bath. Being called to step down would have been the least of his problems. I personally would have written the same letter to Mrs. Watson-Harris about him as I did about Dr. Morley. And if I am honest, it probably would have come with a lot more fury.
I have a biracial family both under my roof and my extended family. I am an active member in an anti-racism group in Dunwoody that is bringing awareness to our local community. I believe in education and training for our police department to ensure more extensive safety measures for every member in our community. I have brought my babies to Black Lives Matters peaceful protests within Atlanta. I pride myself on being an eternal optimist and giving people the benefit of the doubt. I had done that with Dr. Morley in past meetings. The way that Dr Morley could speak about the families in the district repeatedly that want and need for schools to reopen right now, though, was so hurtful. It saddens and scares me that someone who shows such obvious disdain for one race within our district is a voting member on the board.
I looked at my husband and told him I would never feel comfortable advocating for my black child or biracial child, and not my white child. When you know better, you do better. I know better.
Every single day we have an opportunity to teach our children respect, dignity, and love for one another regardless of race, sex, or religion. Our school leaders should be expected to meet these standards regardless of their own race, sex, or religion. As parents, sometimes we are also called to hold our school leaders accountable to these standards.