Earlier this week, a group of about a dozen Black students walked out of Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, Virigina after learning of a racist tweet posted by the school’s assistant principal Amy Strickland in June. The students complained, but were ignored by the school’s principal, so they took matters into their own hands, made signs and walked out of the school. Michael LeMelle, a junior at the school said, “This was the only actual way we could get someone’s attention, was to walk outside. It shouldn’t have come to this, but [the administration has] avoided all meetings and public speakings and emails, just avoided them all.”
According to NewsOne, Strickland’s tweet, originally posted by @OrNahhTweets, and it shows seven high school couples—all the girls are White and all the boys are Black—posing for what appears to be a prom picture, along with the caption: “Every white girl’s father’s worst nightmare.” This is from the woman who won Norfolk’s Teacher of the Year Award.
Many Black students commented, saying that Strickland could have kept her opinions to herself and tht any of them could have actually been in the photo. The best part of this story is that the students who were offended have enough heart to not demand that Strickland lose her job. One student, Shakira Harris told ABC, “We don’t want her to be fired because everybody needs a job. Transfer her, punish her, do something to let us know it has not gone unnoticed.”
The Norfolk branch of the NAACP released the following statement:
Last night, the news reported that an Assistant Principal at Booker T. Washington High School, Amy Strickland, in June posted a racist tweet. Students at Booker T said that it was recently re-tweeted. “It shows a picture of seven couples in prom clothing, all the young men are black and all the young women are white. The caption reads: “Every white girl’s father’s worst nightmare.” Many of the students found this to be racially offensive.
The Norfolk Branch NAACP was aware of these allegations a few days ago and has launched its own investigation into the matter.
We hold the administration accountable for their actions. We will not tolerate racism in this city and definitely not in the education system. Booker T. Washington High School is a fragile school; and the last thing we need in our community are students walking out of school in protest to racist administrators.
The residence of Norfolk, the students of Norfolk and the Norfolk Branch NAACP ask for quick and just adjudication of Assistant Principal Amy Strickland’s behavior.
Joe W. Dillard, President
Norfolk Branch NAACP
NY Daily News is reporting that Dillard applauded the student’s peaceful protest and he said, “Booker T. is the only [Norfolk] school that is not accredited, so to have students walking out, that shows the administration we need some type of action to this assistant principal, of some magnitude, so we can get back on track with what we need to be addressing at that school.”
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