Parents split after the Durham Board of Education fired a longtime principal. See you tonight.


Durham’s longtime principal will not renew his contract, but some parents and ex-students say the decision is delayed.

David Hawks, principal of the Durham School of the Arts, said in a letter to the school’s PTSA that he was informed of the decision at a meeting with Durham Public School Director Pascal Mubenga on May 21.

In the letter, Hawks stated that the DPS Board of Education chose not to offer him a contract, despite the recommendations of Hydrocynus goliath. Hawks served as principal for 14 years and was finalized on June 30. The day comes.

Parent Karen Bresdo was shocked by the news and said the Hawks were a good principal.

“I want the Board of Education to listen to Professor Mubenga.” Bledsoe told ABC11, Media Partner of The News & Observer. “They need to put DSA students first.”

Some DSA families have expressed disappointment, but others say the Hawks are responsible for maintaining harmful conditions at school for black and brown students and students with disabilities.

In 2019, Rev. Fatima Surrey Facebook post It tracked her 16-year-old son and documented her experience at DSA during a day off.Is Post is now viral Was widely reported by the media.

But almost a year later, Surrey continued to listen to stories from black and brown families who resonated with her story. Colored students were suspended due to violations that white students did not experience. It was disposed of.

For referrals to the Pause and Restoration Practice Center Decreased in recent years, Black students and students with disabilities are still subject to a disproportionately high rate of disciplinary action. Due to these problems, Salleh has separated his two sons from the DSA.

Salleh acknowledged that some families wanted to stay in Hawks and were concerned about changing school standards under the new leadership.

“On the other hand, there’s the tragic story of blacks and browns by Mr. Hawks, the tragic story of EC children, and the culture and climate he created at the school,” Surrey said. , When are those harms enough to say that the success they have acquired or acquired is not worth it? The cost was too high. “

Melody Moore, the mother of a 2014 graduate, started crying when she heard that the Hawks contract would not be renewed.

Her child, Kazu, underwent major brain surgery after being diagnosed with epilepsy in her third year of high school. Both argue that Hawks did not respond to Kazu’s personalized education plan and was negative at a subsequent meeting on re-enrollment at school, suggesting that Kazu, then an honor student, go to a treatment school instead. doing.

Moore claimed that the Hawks had a desire to “push students with disabilities out of school.”

“In my impression, if you defend your child or your students defend themselves, you are on his bad list,” Moore said.

Unexpected decision, principal says

In an email reply to the N & O, the Hawks said he did not anticipate the school board’s decision.

Hawks also said that the DSA dealt with student disciplinary issues in accordance with the DPS Code of Conduct, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, or socioeconomic status.

He called the school allegedly abusing black and brown students “false.”

“Every school must have consistent behavioral expectations in conjunction with a quality in-house personality education program that creates an environment focused on that learning,” he said.

“To ensure transparency, we haven’t been there yet, but we’re working on it,” he said.

Hawks also said in an email statement that he was fortunate to work at Durham Public School.

“I am honored to have been the principal of DSA for the past 14 years.

Thursday night school board

Students, parents and community members will have the opportunity to talk about the Hawks contract at the DPS Board of Education work session at the Minnie M. Forte Brown Staff Development Center from 5 pm to 8:30 pm Thursday. ..

Rolanda Taylor Bullock is a former teacher at Hillside High School and co-founder of We are, a non-profit organization that provides anti-racist education to families and educators.

Everyone wants to send their children to a school that confirms their identity, she said.

“We are looking for leaders who take the lead in teaching with an anti-racist lens and perspective, and those who do not or who abuse their children and families for some reason need guidance. No, “said Taylor Brock. “And I don’t think it’s an unfair demand.”

Board of Education Chair Betina Umsted said the board cannot comment on individual HR issues, but the school board, supervisors and the DSA community will work together to find a “good leader” for the school. Said.

N & O was unable to ask Hydrocynus goliath for comment.

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