2003-10-24 / Editorial/Opinion

Why Play The Race Card When Schools Are Concerned?

Why Play The Race Card When Schools Are Concerned?

Why Play The Race Card When Schools Are Concerned?

There is no doubt that there are problems at Beach Channel High School, one of the two public high schools in the peninsula. The students are unusually unruly, particularly at dismissal time, the school has had numerous principals since Bernard Gassaway left for greener climes and the staff turnover is reportedly high. Do any of those things have to do with race? Probably not. Yet, the New York Post ran a story last week about the school declaring an incident where an assistant principal was removed from the school as a "High School Race Furor." We believe that the issue is not a racial issue, but an issue of an administrator who believes that he should be principal and is willing to do almost anything to achieve that position. That administrator, Claude Monereau, has attempted to undermine principal after principal since Gassaway left, under the theory that he is the only person on Earth who can do the job. He has enlisted his fellow assistant principals, parents and even students in his quest. Now, he has enlisted the National Association For The Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and that organization has stated that Monereau’s removal was based on racial bias. A demonstration at the school by the NAACP, aided by local Democratic District Leader Lew Simon and political candidate Everly Brown, drew so much attention that hundreds of students walked out of the building and a number of fires were reportedly set within the building itself. This is not what a troubled building needs to get its bearings at the beginning of the school year. Barbara Pleener, who had a good run at Jamaica High School, has been appointed as the school’s new principal in September. The NAACP, parents, politicians and students need to give her a chance. What the school does not need is a racial controversy and that is what Monereau, the NAACP, Simon and Brown have delivered.

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