Board of Education: ‘Recognize our rights!’

Published Nov 22, 2006 12:30 AM

The New York City Board of Education (BOE) has been the key factor in the miseducation occurring in the city’s public and charter schools. Thanks to the curricula approved by Joel Klein, students learn how “White colonists helped Africa” and how “Hezbollah was involved in 9/11.” This kind of misinformation has led to hate toward and discrimination against certain cultures.

If the teachers are trained to teach this false history, then the students are taught to believe it. One of the rights in the New York City students’ Bill of Rights, written by the Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC) Student Union, states that we students should be taught about the history and diversity of the schools’ student populations. This means Black students learning about Black history, but true history, not white colonial lies. Any person of color knows that white colonists never helped the people of Africa—they tortured, raped and murdered them.

Joel Klein also implemented school safety laws which make cell phones and iPods “contraband” in school buildings. He’s implemented “roving scanners.” This not only enforces the ‘electronics ban’ but also inhibits a learning environment.

We have a right, as students, to study in a safe and nonthreatening environment, according to the student Bill of Rights. This right directly counters the roving scanners policy by the BOE. Roving scanners is a recent manifestation of ‘school security’ which had security officers showing up one morning, without informing the student body or parents, with metal detectors and handcuffs on the belts of every officer. This violates the Bill of Rights in another way, infringing on the right to have students and parents involved in the school’s decision making process.

We students are fed up with the violation of our rights, privacy, security and confiscation of our personal items. We are calling for students, parents, teachers and advocates to come out and demand student rights, including protection for all small schools and better equipment and trained school security officers for larger schools. No longer should students feel like prisoners at a place of learning.

Come out on Dec.1

Dec. 1 is Rosa Parks Day. This marks the 51st anniversary of Parks’ courageous arrest for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated Montgomery, Ala., bus. Before her, many young women were arrested for the same reason. Even though Mrs. Parks was the one to make headlines, it was the youth who inspired this courageous act.

Last year in October, students of color in France realized the racism of their society and rose up. This only came after the death of other youth of color. This uprising made headline news because the youth are powerful in numbers. Youth put a stop to business as usual in France. And for one day, we need to put a stop to business as usual in New York City!

Dec.1 is a day of commemoration and a day of strike. It is a day of impunity. This is so we can take off, celebrate and stand up for our civil rights without the harassment of being marked absent. We need to stand up for our rights as the civil rights movement and the students and youth of France so courageously did in the past.

We will gather at the northern end of Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn, at 11:30 am. We will march across the Brooklyn Bridge, and we will tell the Board of Education how it feels to have our student rights violated! They need to know what happens to us when the BOE picks a school to scan and allows students to be harassed, physically, sexually and mentally. No school, no work, no shopping on Dec. 1!!!

The writer is an organizer with FIST-Fight Imperialism, Stand Together, youth and student group. For more information about FIST, e-mail fist@workers.org. To contact the writer, e-mail poweractivist@yahoo.com.

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