IDEA Public Schools recently caused a stir among some parents after showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement on Facebook.
On July 8 — the day after a gunman murdered five Dallas policemen — Superintendent JoAnn Gama posted a heartfelt message on Facebook:
This week…this month…has been difficult. Honestly, I woke up this morning not wanting to turn on the TV or access my social media accounts. The fear of yet another tragedy was weighing on me.
I’m thinking of the heartbreaks in Orlando, Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, and Dallas. But, as IDEA gets ready to open schools in Baton Rouge, ?#?AltonSterling? is heavy on my mind. Alton’s family, his son-a real student attending a real school- and his community lost a friend, husband, and father. This is hard. I cannot help but see myself in Baton Rouge–I think of my hardworking husband who is a father and a friend to many. I think about having to tell my two children that their dad is dead due to senseless violence. But, I realize that empathy is not enough and I have a responsibility to act.
As an educator, a wife, and a mother, I am deeply sad today for the Sterling family and the many faceless ‘Alton Sterlings’ in Baton Rouge and other parts of our country.
It is in their honor that I recommit myself to the work of social justice by achieving excellence in education throughout our schools across the nation.
One way we grieve and heal is through writing and reflecting. We have opened up our social media channels to our leaders to share their thoughts and reflections in their unedited voices. Together, we are committed to action.
Our students deserve a world where every single student—white, black, Latino—does not have to worry about ever losing their life to ridiculous violence. ?#?BlackLivesMatter?”
“I think as a school it has to be non-partisan, especially right now with the violence in the country that we have,” said Martha Oliver, whose son attends an IDEA campus in Mission.
The district’s Facebook page also shared several statements from administrators explaining why they support the movement.
“Today, there have been too many incidents that show evidence of unnecessary attacks with brutal force, deadly force against our black citizens,” wrote Rolando Posada, executive director of IDEA San Antonio.
Oliver and other parents responded by threatening to remove their children from IDEA schools.
Melissa Colon posted:
I will remove my son from Idea RGV. My husband is in law enforcement and used to be a police officer. Some times he would come home beat up defeated trying to protect the public. I pray to God that he brings him home every night. And for Idea to do this. All lives matter especially my husbands
Asked about the controversy, IDEA sent a statement to CBS 4 News:
At IDEA Public Schools, we are devastated by the killing of law enforcement who have chosen to dedicate their lives to protect us. At the same time, we fundamentally believe that the Black Lives Matter movement is giving a voice to the voiceless. Our nation is seeing an increasing number of senseless assaults and murders and we must come together and educate ourselves. We stand behind our leaders’ voices and in solidarity with communities that have lost so many innocent lives throughout the country.