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School district ousts principal for holding racially exclusive student assembly – but why??

An elementary school in Florida recently hired a new principal to replace one who was suspended and eventually resigned at the beginning of the school year.

The latter, Donelle Evensen, had helped organized a racially exclusive assembly for black fourth and fifth graders to encourage them to raise their state test scores.

Evensen is white. Anthony Hines, the now-former fifth-grade facilitator who helped coordinate the assembly, is black. According to the Observer, Hines showed students a PowerPoint which “included a bracketed competition on assessment scores with meals from McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A as prizes.”

Hines allegedly told students that “if they were not responsible in school they would be in danger later in life of getting shot and killed or going to jail.”

Evensen’s resignation letter explains more about the motivations behind the assembly:

“I can only hope that due to the unfavorable attention from this situation that a light will be shed and the most important conversation will be unavoidable as to the achievement levels of subgroups of students including African American students and Students With Disabilities” (emphasis added).

Those subgroups are what George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” and Barack Obama’s “Race to the Top” are all about. Ask any teacher or administrator and they’ll tell you: State testing is all about raising scores for every subgroup (and there are many). Continued employment can depend on these test scores.

ImageThe media would have you believe racial separatism like this assembly is wrong-headed and racist. One local outlet quoted two (black) students at the assembly as saying they noticed it was “only Black kids in the cafeteria” and were “embarrassed.”

District Superintendent LaShakia Moore (pictured) said “students should never be separated by race.”

Don’t be fooled. Progressives and professional educationists wholeheartedly believe in racial separation. Isolating minority students for “positive” situations — like graduations, academic honors, and other celebratory endeavors — not only is acceptable, but encouraged. (And if you have a problem with that then you’re the racist.)

The one exception is “negative” situations like the very one in question: being lectured on poor academic performance or behavior. (Note that separating white students for a negative situation, however, is perfectly OK due to “whiteness, privilege, oppression, supremacy,” etc. etc. etc. You can even get away with saying white people need to “fix their freaking families.“)

MORE: Segregated ceremonies promote ‘belonging,’ scholars claim

If you’re trying to make sense of all this so far, don’t try too hard. After all, academia has been treated to word salads on this topic for years now, like the following from our ‘ol pal Robin DiAngelo:


The College Fix archive provides further evidence of this maelstrom of racial absurdity:

— Back in September, an elementary school in Oakland held a racially segregated ‘playdate,’ and the San Francisco Chronicle said the “hate” from those opposed to the event “only reinforced the importance of creating more of these safe spaces.”

— In 2020, San Diego Unified School District secondary schools did away with traditional A, B, C, etc. grades over concerns of racial disparities. Black, Hispanic and Native students were more likely to “be given” (note: not “earn”) bad grades, according to a local report.

— Also in 2020, Brooklyn College’s “Enacting an Anti-Racist Agenda” program looked into professors who had “given” a lot of D’s and F’s or had high “racial disparities in outcomes.”

— In 2021, a Madison (Wisconsin) Metropolitan School District high school held racially segregated Zoom conferences related to “all the police brutality and violence that is going on.” A year before, the district justified racially separate “virtual discussion spaces” for students on the basis of “providing a ‘level of emotional safety and security.’”

— That same year, Minnesota’s Carleton College held racially segregated “anti-racism training sessions” for all its employees based on black student demands.

— The University of Cincinnati held racially separate “post-election ‘dialogue’ events” in November 2020 because it was “important to facilitate conversations that speak truth to power, allow space for healing, and cultivate change through candid dialogue.”

— After some idiot on American University’s campus was recorded screaming the n-word, students demanded “a safe space and housing options for black students.” Missing the irony, one black member of the student government said racially separate spaces would show AU was taking “diversity and inclusion efforts seriously.”

— This past spring, the University of Pittsburgh’s diversity office held a graduation ceremony for “students of color” in order to “build unity and community with one another.”

Ironically, a common complaint from African Americans on the topic of forced busing is that it destroyed community schools and neighborhood unity. Even more ironically, African Americans had plenty of community and unity in the days of legal segregation. Engaging in the same racial separatism as 80 years ago but reframing it as “building unity and community with one another” completely misses the point of multi-ethnic societal harmony.

So, yes, ultimately Superintendent Moore was right in her criticism of the elementary school’s blacks-only assembly. But in a district where there’s a been a battle over “equity,” a term which ultimately necessitates racial segregation (and which the local NAACP president supports), was anything more than reprimand really needed for Ms. Evensen?

In the end, Principal Evensen fell victim to the ever-malleable nature of “equity.”

MORE: ‘Restorative justice’: Whites, conservatives, police need not apply

IMAGE: Shutterstock.com; LaShakia Moore, Ramona Bessinger/X

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.