Oklahoma schools aren’t equipped to handle the mental health crisis in its schools. Teachers are not mental health professionals. They aren’t trained to provide trauma-informed care nor should they be expected to do so.
There were so many multifaceted layers to unpack with that question. I couldn’t sum up what it was like growing up among faces that did not look like mine and within institutions that systematically did not welcome my presence.
I want to continue having hope for Black students who are attending these failing public schools in Tulsa; however, how long does it take a school district to implement the promises of racial equality and equity in the form of academic progress and college and career readiness for its Black students?
LaTeria Stokes, a 12-year-old from Sapulpa, Oklahoma is headed to Washington DC to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference (Jr.NYLC). She’s one of the few lucky students from across the US who will have the honor of attending this prestigious conference.
Philly lawyer and activist, Michael Coard rightly notes in the Philadelphia Tribune, “If you don’t believe that ruling [Dred Scott] still applies as recently as 2019, consider the cases involving the following unarmed Black people murdered during the past five years by white cops who were acquitted or never even charged: Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Terrence Crutcher, Samuel DuBose, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Tony Robinson, Alton Sterling, and many others.”
I argue that what is best for kids will never be a newer renovated building, not the latest curriculum craze, not the most up to date technology, but that we have high quality teachers in every single classroom who believe whole heartedly that our students at Gilcrease can achieve as much as any other student in this school district.
In Tulsa, schools with a large African-American student-population are failing some 51-years after the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) to force a plan for desegregation.