Keep Dance, not Miller

Thirty-eight par­ents of Baltimore County pub­lic school stu­dents say they sup­port the su­per­in­ten­dent’s ef­fort to reach out to mi­nori­ties af­ter Trump’s elec­tion

Baltimore Sun - - WORLD - Gary M. Al­me­ter, Jen­nifer Auvil, Melissa Baker, Anne Blan­chard, Cheri Bond Pegues, Shelly Bray, Pamela Brous­sard, Alexan­dra Bull, Carl­son Bull, Kris­ten Camp­bell McGuire, Shan­non Car­ney, Re­becca Cer­aul, Denise Dono­van, Amanda Dy­mond, Dr. Lee Fire­man, Aimee

As par­ents of Baltimore County Pub­lic Schools stu­dents we write to ex­press our sup­port for Su­per­in­ten­dent Dal­las Dance against school board mem­ber Ann Miller’s ab­surd de­mand for his res­ig­na­tion (“BCPS board mem­ber: Dal­las Dance must go,” Nov. 15). Ms. Miller wrote that Mr. Dance should step down for retweet­ing a call for ed­u­ca­tors to be sen­si­tive to their mi­nor­ity and dis­en­fran­chised stu­dents fol­low­ing Don­ald Trump’s vic­tory on elec­tion night.

In fact, Mr. Dance should be com­mended for his em­pa­thy. Ac­cord­ing to guid­ance from the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of School Psy­chol­o­gists, “it is im­per­a­tive that ed­u­ca­tors fa­cil­i­tate re­spect­ful dis­cus­sions among stu­dents and safe­guard the well-be­ing of those who may feel at risk.”

The stu­dent pop­u­la­tion at BCPS schools con­sists of a grow­ing num­ber of racial, eth­nic and re­li­gious mi­nori­ties. While it is Mr. Dance’s job to at­tend to all of his stu­dents’ needs, it is also es­sen­tial to ac­knowl­edge that mi­nor­ity stu­dents were dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fected by the tone and po­ten­tial im­pli­ca­tions of the elec­tion.

Yet Ms. Miller ac­cuses Mr. Dance of play­ing pol­i­tics. “Ev­ery­one is hy­per-sen­si­tive on is­sues of race, and the week af­ter one of the most con­tentious elec­tion cam­paigns this na­tion has ever wit­nessed is not the time for a so­cial me­dia post laden with both racial and po­lit­i­cal un­der­tones,” she wrote. On the con­trary, con­ver­sa­tions about in­equal­ity and dis­crim­i­na­tion are long over­due. This is even more im­por­tant in light of re­ports from the South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter that there has been an uptick in racially and re­li­giously mo­ti­vated attacks since the elec­tion.

Ms. Miller has writ­ten ex­ten­sively about her op­po­si­tion to un­doc­u­mented stu­dents re­ceiv­ing state ben­e­fits, same-sex mar­riage and trans­gen­der rights. For Ms. Miller to crit­i­cize Mr. Dance for ex­clud­ing par­tic­u­lar stu­dents is hyp­o­crit­i­cal at worst and disin­gen­u­ous at best given her lack of tol­er­ance of a di­verse pop­u­la­tion.

As par­ents of BCPS stu­dents, we ap­plaud Mr. Dance’s com­mit­ment to eq­uity. Mr. Dance has stated, “eq­uity is not just about ev­ery stu­dent hav­ing ac­cess to the same thing; it’s about ev­ery stu­dent hav­ing what he or she needs to be suc­cess­ful.” (“Schools in Baltimore sub­urbs ad­dress growth in mi­nor­ity en­roll­ment,” Aug. 22, 2015). Mr. Dance’s sen­ti­ment ex­pressed through his retweet is im­por­tant be­cause as ed­u­ca­tors, school A Baltimore County school board mem­ber called for the res­ig­na­tion of Su­per­in­ten­dent Dal­las Dance af­ter he retweeted a mes­sage of sup­port for mi­nor­ity stu­dents fol­low­ing Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion as pres­i­dent. lead­ers, par­ents and peo­ple of con­science, we need to of­fer our sup­port for our mi­nor­ity and dis­en­fran­chised stu­dents who may feel tar­geted and fear­ful.

Mr. Dance has our full sup­port on this is­sue and we re­ject Ms. Miller’s call for his res­ig­na­tion. In her de­mand that Mr. Dance re­move his retweet and her pub­lic call for his res­ig­na­tion, Ms. Miller has over­stepped her bounds as a school board mem­ber. Ms. Miller should re­flect on her role on the board and whether she is ca­pa­ble of serv­ing the in­ter­ests of all BCPS stu­dents.

We be­lieve she is not. She’s the one who should re­sign.

KIM HAIRSTON/BALTIMORE SUN

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