We aren’t prepared to carry their flag, but if we’re giving out the grades, six Red Springs students who took a concern before Board of Education on Tuesday night would get an A-plus in Civics.
The students — seniors D’niqua Murphy and Drayvon Fairley, juniors Brenicia McNeill and Stefone Muinsiow, and sophomores Briona McRae and Rocio Decina — complained to the school board during the public comment period about the transfer of counselor Rosemary Hemingway out of Red Springs High and to another school. School board members by rule aren’t allowed to speak during the public comment period, but the students said they had been told Hemingway had been transferred to another school to help with gender equality.
The students read from a letter they had written that was thoughtful, concise and on point — and made clear their affinity for Hemingway.
They argued that the school, where 35 percent of the students are black, needs a black counselor such as Hemingway, but has been left with a single school counselor, an American Indian. We don’t think that a person’s skin color reveals much about his or her ability to counsel students. But the students’ fondness for Hemingway, we believe, should at least prompt school officials to give their request more than a courtesy nod and thank you — particularly if Hemingway herself would like to do a U-turn.
The students also did their homework, gathering information that — assuming it’s accurate — turns upside-down any assertion that gender equality is a consideration in how school counselors are placed.
Gender equity simply cannot be achieved as, according to the students’ research, 16 of the 18 counselors in the other five high schools are women. A close examination of the racial breakdown of how counselors are placed at high schools, however, does suggest that skin color is a consideration, which should weigh in favor of the students’ request.
We will say again that this Our View isn’t an expression of support for the students; we have heard only one side of the story, and there might exist compelling reasons for Hemingway’s transfer.
We are impressed to see that these high school students, instead of sulking privately, sought redress through avenues provided in the system. In this instance, the students become teachers because it’s routine for people who believe they have been victimized by government to sulk silently, and not to lobby public officials to take another look.