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A time to heal: As the Dallas ISD dust settles

Casey Thomas | 6/3/2013, 9:33 a.m.

I’m not a writer. I just have something to say …

As the smoke begins to clear down at 3700 Ross Ave., the time has come for us to heal. This Thursday, the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees decided on a 7-2 vote to go forward with the recommendation of DISD staff to give non-renewals for the contracts of hundreds of teachers and two principals. As a result of this, many in the African American community have spoken out regarding this decision.

Since the vote has been taken, it is time for our community to heal. We have to put the children and their interests first. While we hate to see anyone lose their job, we have to remember that if it was not for the children, we would not have any principals or teachers.

It is not a new phenomenon that African American children are performing poorly in school. This has been the case in many aspects of the district over the past decade. We continuously see our children scoring low on standardized testing without any real community dialogue about why this continues to take place.

We have children who do not have supportive households, and the safety and comfort of their school is the most stable place in their neighborhood. For this reason, many students remain after school for academic enrichment courses, where they will receive a snack at the end of their course of study.

We have a role that we can play in helping our children succeed. If you have time on your hands, go visit the local school in your neighborhood. Make time to read to young children and tutor those in most need. We also need people who are willing to mentor a young man or young lady who needs a little support to be successful in school.

Each one of us can do something. Take a moment to go down to Dallas ISD headquarters and make it known that you would like to be a mentor. Volunteer at the local school in whatever capacity you are able. Come in and read to the students a copy of their favorite book.

The time has come for us to work together to make things better for Dallas. If we embrace the fact that if things are going to change in our community, it is going to be up to us to make it happen. We must take responsibility for our own actions, and we must continue to speak up for those who don’t know the right thing to say. The time has come for us to be a part of the solution, and not the problem.