Thursday night's Board of Education meeting had all the makings of a feeding frenzy in the wake of the homework controversy that engulfed Beaver Ridge Elementary in Norcross. The previous day, Luis Rivera submitted his resignation after authoring math questions pertaining to slavery that were also used by three other third-grade teachers.The questions -- one was: "If Frederick got two beating each day, how many beatings would he get in a week?" -- became a national story and led the NAACP to call for each of the teachers to be fired. Ed Dubose, Georgia NAACP president, reiterated that desire during Thursday's public commenting, saying that Rivera's resignation was a step in the right direction while calling for the "firing of all four that have been involved" and "anybody who distributed" the tests to also be terminated.
During the time for public comment, one person called the situation an issue of "good and evil" and Dubose said all teachers should have sensitivity and diversity training.
It is our opinion that the rhetoric needs to be toned down and that those in charge of the Gwinnett County Public School System be allowed to do a thorough investigation that determines a suitable resolution.
That the questions were allowed to be included in the homework shows an error in judgement, but GCPS officials should determine if it is more than that. Rivera's comments in a letter to the administration, obtained by the Daily Post through an open records request, show remorse. "As a minority myself, I understand the trials and tribulations associated with being a minority ... I have brought shame to my family, and my school. For that I cannot apologize enough."
The school board and administration have proven time and again an ability to confront and appropriately handle public concerns, from Gateway testing to school redistrictings to the hirings and firings of teachers. In this case, the powers that be need to be given the time to properly investigate the situation at Beaver Ridge and make a determination on what kind of punishment the people involved will receive.
Louise Radloff, newly elected chairman of the school board, apologized during Thursday's meeting, calling the situation "unfortunate." She and her fellow board members shouldn't apologize for backing away from the fray and taking appropriate measures to investigate and handle this situation.
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