Parents of students at the Mission Viejo Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado erupted in rage over a letter they recently received from Principal Andre Pearson. The letter, which was sent to local parents to announce a new tutoring service, stated at the top of the document that the program was only available to ‘Students of Color.’
Nicole Cox, who has a 10-year-old daughter in need of tutoring, was highly offended by the letter:
“I was infuriated. I didn’t understand why they would include or exclude certain groups. We have come so far in all of these years to show everybody that everyone is equal, that everyone should be treated equally … this is a form of bullying.”
Principal Pearson realized he upset many parents with the letter and he attempted to diffuse the situation by sending the following voice mail to Ms. Cox’s home:
“This is Andre Pearson. It’s focused for and designed for children of color, but certainly, if we have space for other kids who have needs, we can definitely meet those needs.”
Sadly, the abject insensitivity of the letter seems to have escaped Mr. Pearson. One can only imagine the outrage that would be printed in every newspaper across America if a principal sent out a letter informing parents that the new tutoring program was only available to white students.
The issue of racism has received a great deal of attention lately. Even the Lego Toy Company was accused of racial discrimination over a Star Wars play set. However, the people of Aurora are firm believers in racial diversity and no one has attacked Principal Pearson, who is African-American, on the basis of his race.
Meanwhile, the Cherry Creek School District stands by their claim that there is no discrimination or segregation in any of the area’s schools. When asked who was to blame for the incident, Tustin Amole, Director of Communications for the district said, “The communication the principal sent out was wrong. He made a mistake and he has apologized for that.”
Mr. Pearson has refused to speak to the press or grant any interviews, but the damage has been done. Local parents are angry and there are demands for the principal to be disciplined or fired. While the national media has chosen to ignore this story, it is a sad commentary on the post-racial America President Obama promised us in 2008.