Even though this happened about about a week ago, I just found out about it. This young girl, Jada Williams has just finished reading The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. After reading this book, this 8th grader, made some serious connections about the contents of the book to her life as a young Black student. She noted that the education that she is receiving is similar in fashion to that of Frederick Douglass in that she is not only being educated about things that are important to her cultural history, the teachers in the school are not culturally responsive to her as a Black student. In her moving letter, (you can read it here), she basically called these teachers out in their instructional format. After Jayda wrote this letter, several white teachers at her school said they felt offended and disrespected by her letter and subsequently, she began failing her classes. When Jayda’s parents began to ask her teachers about why she was failing and if they could prove documents about her failure, the teachers could not respond. Jayda tried to transfer her into another school only to find out that she is experiencing failures & hardships in enrolling in another school.
This is an experience that will change this 13-year-old’s life forever. The very thing that she is critiquing about the educational system is inadvertently happening to her, all because this girl posed some serious critical questions about the nature and format of her own learning and educational experiences. She is receiving harsh criticism because she is critiquing that which is wrong. And the people who are critiquing her and “punishing” her cannot even see the irony in the situation and they surely are not admitting to their wrongdoing in this situation. Instead, the one is examining and questioning the injustices as they affect her life is being punished. This is WRONG! This girl’s life will never be the same simply because she is doing what is right—using her mind and questioning and critiquing life: the very same thing that Frederick Douglass did in his book.
This girl is very courageous and bold and I want to SALUTE her for her strength and aggressiveness. We need to support young people like this.