by Frances Edstrom, columnist
In a letter to the editor in the Winona Post of April 3, 2019, Rich Dahman, outgoing superintendent of Winona Area Public Schools, writes that he is “uncertain, and Edstrom’s article doesn’t explain, where she would have gotten the idea that teachers have been ‘maligned for suspending students.’”
I had written, in a previous letter to the editor, that teachers were being maligned and “not so indirectly called racist” for their suspension of students.
I was reacting to, and requoted, a Post article in which Dahman was quoted as saying, “Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) is one of 43 districts and charters across the state of Minnesota that have been identified as potentially discriminating against minority and disabled students based on suspension data from the 2015-16 school year.”
That Post article also quoted a state Department of Human Resources official as saying of the situation, “I felt that if I spent time going through all of the suspensions at their various schools and charters I would find evidence of discrimination.”
Racism by definition is discrimination against someone of a different race. Therefore, since two officials said that WAPS has been identified as discriminating against minorities, that is, those of a different race from the majority of teachers, and WAPS teachers are consequently being given training in cultural sensitivity, I guess I leapt to the logical conclusion that the teachers who send these students to suspension were being accused of racism, maligned, as it were.
But perhaps Mr. Dahman means to say that it is not the teachers who have been accused of racism, but rather his administration.
It is hard to tell.