Minority Achievement Celebrated at Local Middle School Stirs Controversy
SPRING HILL – It was standing room only at Saturday’s Scholar Day Event, organized by the Black Educators Caucus of Hernando County.
The controversial event drew dozens of Hispanic and Black students from Hernando County Middle and High Schools to recognize their achievement of reaching the honor roll at least one time during the school year.
“Achievement! Achievement! Achievement!” rang out from various speakers as they rallied students with gratitude and inspirational tales of successful minorities.
Some of the special guests included Rev. Clarence Clark of Shiloh New Beginnings Pillar of Truth, Dr. Emery Ailes of Pasco Hernando State College, Paul Douglas, President of the Hernando County Chapter of the NAACP, and even Hernando County School Board Member, Linda Prescott. Candidate for School Board Jimmy Lodato and his wife were also seen among the overcrowded room of student’s and proud family members.
One by one an equal number of Hispanic and Black students made their way to the stage to shake hands with dignitaries and receive recognition for their accomplishments.
But despite the festive atmosphere, there were still several residents who felt the event only worsened the racial divide by condoning the segregation of young achievers.
Several commenters voiced opposition of the event, after minority achievers received notice earlier this month.
“Winter Kid” says, “Unity is the only way this racism will end. The government keeps it alive and well, so they stay in power. When the people (all races, genders……) realize this, then united change will happen.”
“I’ve got your back” says, “This is bull. This kind of stuff is what’s dividing this country. If you put all the kids of color together, it’s the white kids that are the minority… The whole school board should be fired.”
Even a few members of the Hernando Board of County Commissioners spoke out against the event. Chairman Steve Champion says, “Our School Board needs to put an end to this segregated event. Champion followed his comment by tagging all current school board members. Commissioner Wayne Dukes says, “I think every honor roll student and their parents should be proud part of the event. I think it’s unfortunate that we’re not having all the honor roll students from all the schools there to recognize everyone. Let’s not divide, let’s work together.”
The Black Educators Caucus of Hernando is a 501c3 non-profit organization that is affiliated with the Hernando County Teachers Association.
The BEC strives to advance the interest of the teaching profession, promote the welfare of the Black educators throughout Hernando County, and insure that the educational needs of local Black community are met.
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