We the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) are concerned about the recent incident that occurred at Santa Monica High School, and we support the decision to place teacher/coach on leave and to launch a complete investigation of the incident.
As you may know, we take physical contact between teacher and student very seriously—especially when it appears that a protocol in place was not followed given that the district had security personnel on campus at the time of the incident.
Relationships between a student and a teacher must be valued.
The video that shows a portion of the incident is very disturbing. I and members of our executive committee believe that the teacher being placed immediately on leave was needed to sort things out.
In our recent memory, there have been at least three physical altercations between teachers and African American students, including this past Friday’s incident. And there was one additional incident in which an African American male wrestler was chained to a locker allegedly by white students who called out, “Slave for sale.”
This particular incident involved the failure of the teachers/coaches to report the incident to administration. It took an alert parent to inform the African American male student’s mother.
We are also concerned if this coach in the video and now on leave was involved in the wrestling noose incident with regards to improper reporting.
It is our expectation that a teacher will exercise judgment that is as good as is humanly possible.
There is no way that the NAACP would condone the use, sale, or possession of any illegal drugs on campus.
However, any use of physical restraint by a teacher of a student must be carefully examined. Even if a student has a challenged history at a school, humane treatment must always be exercised whenever possible towards all of our students.
We appreciate Superintendent Sandra Lyon’s actions given the possible involvement of others, and the potential for the circumstance to escalate. She took an immediate, hands-on approach to control a situation. Given the video, an investigation serves everyone with regards to transparency and, at the very least, will make things better.
President, NAACP Santa Monica-Venice Branch