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A Kansas high school principal was forced to apologize for showing a video to staff referencing “white privilege” after a teacher went to a school board member and complained that it was “offensive” and “created a hostile work environment.”
Tim Hamblin is the principal at Derby High School. He explained in an email that he showed the video to staffers so they would be aware of what he had shown students KMUW Wichita reported.
After a teacher complained, the board member she went to ordered Hamblin to apologize for showing it. It is unknown who the school board member was.
The board member reportedly told Hamblin the teacher “feared retaliation for sharing their concerns.”
“I can guarantee there is not a single member(s) of this staff that can produce one piece of evidence I have ever retaliated against anyone as the Principal of Derby High School,” Hamblin said in his email.
“The point was nothing more than to share what some of our kids were dealing with and one thing that they would see to try and help them get through it,” Hamblin asserted. “I apologize to anyone that felt the video or its content which referenced white privilege made them feel uncomfortable, awkward, harassed, or that it created a hostile work environment.”
“The point was nothing more than to share what some of our kids were dealing with and one thing that they would see to try and help them get through it,” Hamblin said in an email this week. #ksed
— Suzanne Perez (@SuzPerezICT) February 9, 2022
The four-minute video was shown at a staff in-service day in January and featured black author Joy DeGruy who told a story about going to a store with a family member who is half-white and who looks “whiter than most white folks.” The family member allegedly was allowed to write a check with no ID while DeGruy had to present several forms of ID to make her purchase. She held it up as an example of the relative using her “white privilege” to stand up for her.
“I’m standing there trying to decide what to do, and it’s really deeply humiliating,” DeGruy commented in the video. “My sister-in-law walks back over, and she steps in, and she says, ‘Excuse me, why are you doing this?’”
“So you see, she used her white privilege,” she added. “And even though Kathleen is half black and half white, she recognizes what that means, and she made the statement. She pointed out the injustice and she, as a result of that one act, influenced everyone in that space.”
“She used her white privilege to educate and make right a situation that was wrong,” DeGruy proclaimed in the 2011 video. “That’s what you can do every single day.”
(Video Credit: WorldTrustTV)
The Derby High School girls’ basketball team was also shown the video in response to race-based comments that were allegedly made toward some team members on social media late last year.
Superintendent Heather Bohaty “is aware of the email you’re referencing and didn’t have further details or comments to share,” commented district spokeswoman Katie Carlson in an email.
“The (school) Board as a whole had made no directive regarding specific videos or teaching materials of this type,” Carlson stated.
“This email was intended between him and his staff,” school board president Michael Blankenship wrote in an email to KMUW. “We respect the opinions and views of all our staff and work to maintain an environment where we support all students and staff.”
Rep. Patrick Penn, who is a Republican from Wichita, decried school districts pushing race on students, utilizing the concept of “white privilege,” and implementing Critical Race Theory.
“They reject wholeheartedly the theory or the notion of colorblindness. … They look at everything through a racial lens,” Penn declared.
Simple, stop injecting terminology like “white privledge” into these things. That is insulting idiotic language.
We can still learn how to treat people and do what is right without that garbage thrown in.
— Nathan (@Ho8Go8L1N) February 10, 2022
Tamara Seyler-James, who is a parent in the Blue Valley school district, also objected to teaching implicit bias or “white privilege.”
Public schools “drive the conversation exclusively toward the topic of … whites behaving badly, as opposed to balancing the equation and stating that everybody, no matter their skin color, is human, and is flawed and could commit the sin of bias and racism,” Seyler-James pointed out. “I find that problematic.”
The Derby school board is currently reportedly comprised of a conservative majority.
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