I can only relay this in its entirety from Cincinnati.com. This is utterly ridiculous and shows a pattern of racist behavior. Michael D. Clark of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote this story. You be the judge……
LIBERTY TWP. – The Lakota school board accepted the resignation of a top official
and her secretary Monday after complaints from co-workers that they made racial remarks about African-American employees.
Treva Whitlock, nutrition director for Lakota schools, had been suspended with pay since March 25. She negotiated a separation agreement with the district as part of her resignation. Whitlock, who is white, was cited by a number of employees in the Lakota nutrition department’s office for deriding black central office officials and Lakota’s diversity efforts, according to documents provided by Lakota officials after the board vote.
In a March 10 written statement to central office officials, Jonnica Johnson quoted Whitlock as saying, “Hey you guys, we need to be more diverse. I am going to bring in some shoe polish and paint (two white employees’) face(s).”
The board also approved a separation agreement and the resignation of Whitlock’s secretary, Linda Alfrey, who also is white. Alfrey was cited by another central office employee – Rick Tate – in a written statement on March 12 as having said about African-American Georgetta Kelly, Lakota’s director of human resources, “You know George is here only because of the NAACP.”
Both Whitlock and Alfrey were cited as referring to another black central office employee – Rhonda White – as “Rhonda White who isn’t.”
The drama continues….
This is the latest in a series of racial incidents in Lakota schools. In March, a social studies teacher at Ridge Junior School was suspended for sending two African-American students into a separate room from their classmates for a test.
In December, the district drew national attention for racial issues raised by a high school play. Lakota officials first shut down the play “And Then There Were None” in the wake of accusations that the play had racist origins, only to reverse themselves and allow it to be performed.
In August, a music teacher at Endeavor Elementary was accused of making racial comments to students.
Last year saw the principal of Independence Elementary publicly admit he had been too lenient in punishing white students who discriminated against a black student.
When told Monday evening of the reasons behind Whitlock and Alfrey’s resignations, Gary Hines, president of the local chapter of the NAACP, said, “I’m shocked but not surprised.” Hines has maintained for years that Lakota schools are racially insensitive and that top district officials are content to “sweep the problems under the rug.” “Here we go again. There is a systemic problem here and the schools should have a zero tolerance about this,” he said.
Whitlock’s annual evaluations showed no complaints of racial insensitivity. But Whitlock’s supervisors had cited the director’s need to improve “interpersonal relations and development of insight into people and being more tactful in dealing with others.” Alfrey’s suspension letter also cited “conduct in the work place.”
Background on Treva Whitlock….
Whitlock oversaw nutrition programs largely funded by the federal government. Lakota, which is the seventh-largest district in Ohio, with 18,500 students, provides lunches for more than 14,000 students each school day. Whitlock was a board member of the American School Food Service Association and a former president of the national school nutrition group. In 1998, she was nominated for Ohio Food Service Director of the Year, and she was widely recognized in the field for developing the “food court” concept for school cafeterias.
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Janet Shan is a freelance journalist and managing editor of the Hinterland Gazette, who is working on her first novel, a mystery based in the hills on Montego Bay.