BEXLEY, Ohio (WCMH) – It was standing room only for a Bexley school board meeting Wednesday, which comes after a blatantly racist picture was shown during morning announcements at Bexley Middle School last Friday.
Parents expressed anger and passion, shed tears, and called for action.
“Black History Month,” said 20-year Bexley resident Carl Woodford. “Let’s go, gang. Here’s an orangutan and a damn watermelon. This typifies Black people. What are we going to do next year? An ape and some chicken? I’m tired and I’m done, and I know how to sue.”
An image of unbridled racism was shown to the whole school Friday at Bexley Middle School during the morning announcements. Woodford’s 13-year-old daughter was a witness.
“We have kids now coming to school hurt, they’re crying, they’re confused, and you expect them to do well in the classroom after this?” he said.
Parents packed the school board meeting Wednesday, with 17 people signing up to give the board their thoughts.
“If you all allow people to do things like what just happened here, I can’t trust you,” one parent said. “You’re proving that you’re part of the problem. You all should have drug him out of that school.”
Parents were united in calling for the firing of the teacher responsible for supervising the morning announcements.
“I really don’t believe that your school is doing anything about it,” another parent said. “Because if you were, you would’ve fired that man immediately. Swift justice.”
Board members stopped short of calling for the teacher’s dismissal, but did have criticisms of their own.
“The truth is Bexley has not been good for everyone,” said board member Dr. Marguerethe Jaede. “It never has been, but it can be.”
“This is not a time to be color blind,” said board member Dr. Jonathan Baker. “This is a time to be color aware.”
Superintendent Dr. Jason Fine said an investigation is underway and he could not comment on the students involved, but that the teacher responsible is currently on administrative leave.
However, some parents want to see more action from the board.
“I don’t trust any of them,” Woodford said. “And I didn’t make any separation between white or Black. None of them. It’s rhetoric. It all sounds good for the camera, but what in the Hell are you doing?”
Many parents noted this wasn’t the first time something like this has happened. Just more than two years ago, a Bexley student was racially attacked on social media.