Scott Henry, a Texas school board trustee says he and his family have been the subject of death threats after comments he made at school board meetings falsely equating Black teachers and high school dropout rates.
“Because I dared to disagree that it equates to high retention rates, there have been threats upon my life, and my wife and my children have been targeted,” Scott said during his first public meeting since the comment. “I will take responsibility for not saying it more eloquently.”
Scott has been under fire from parents and other board members since a Jan. 10 school board meeting, where his racially insensitive comments went viral.
During the meeting, Scott and his colleagues watched a presentation about diversity and equitable practices, and learning opportunities within Cypress Independent School District‘s middle and high schools. The presentation, which was given by Onika Mayers, the director of Millennium Learning Concepts, also noted academic achievement disparities among different racial and ethnic groups.
Mayer revealed to the board that during the 2019-20 school year, 72 percent of white students reached their academic grade level in English language arts and reading, while fewer than half of Black, Latino, and economically-disadvantaged students met the mark.
“Black and African American students in CFISD are suspended at elevated rates, and that takes away learning time, which limits their academic potential,” said Mayers. “Black students are less than 20 percent of the CFISD population, but makeup nearly 40 percent of students receiving in-school and out-of-school suspensions.”
But once she was finished with her presentation, Scott Henry immediately rebutted Mayers and her data with unfounded claims and racist comments.
“That number of Black kids suspended looks big and scary,” said Henry. “But that’s not a big number if you’re looking at the total population of the school district.”
Henry continued to rant about Mayer’s presentation calling it “a pile of rubbish.” Before allowing other members of the board to speak, Henry bashed diversity efforts saying whoever invited the guest speaker should be fired. He then blamed black students’ low-performance rates on the higher number of Black teachers.
Start the video at 49 mins, to listen to Scott Henry’s comments…
“Do you know what the statewide percent is for Black teachers? Ten percent,” said Henry. “Houston [Independent School District], which I’ll use to shine an example, you know what their average percentage of Black teachers is? Thirty-six percent. I looked that up. Do you know what their dropout rate is? Four percent. I don’t want to be 4 percent… I want to be the premium place where people go to be.”
President of the board, Tom Jackson apologized to the board and the community for Henry’s comments describing them as a simple mistake like snubbing a toe, but community leaders want action.
Houston mayor called out Henry saying his comments were unacceptable and recommended he resign.
Critical Race Theory has been a hot-button issue in school board meetings all across the country, but the debate seems disingenuous. CRT is taught in an upper-level graduate school or law school course. So why are so many white moms to middler-schoolers raising so much of a concern over something that isn’t even taught on a grade-school level?
The answer is simple–to dismantle diversity and equity programming within public education. The long-standing conservative goal to erase the history that pegs them as the bad guy is an American tradition.
It’s sad, but it’s the truth.