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Black Teachers Give Voice To Challenges In Education SystemFocus groups create a narrative explaining why school districts struggle to retain Black educators.
Written By Nigel Roberts

Most agree that teacher diversity is desirable. Numerous studies have shown that Black teachers are effective at teaching African-American students.

But teachers of color represent just 18 percent of the workforce—about 7 percent of them are African-American. That’s a problem because this lack of teacher diversity exists at a time when minorities represent a majority of students in the nation’s public education system. A large part of the problem is retaining teachers of color.

NewsOne spoke with The Education Trust, a nonprofit education research and advocacy group, about its new study, released on Nov. 3.

Titled Through Our Eyes: Perspectives and Reflections From Black Teachers, the study gives voice to African-American educators on the front-lines about the challenges that contribute to the retention crisis.

Ashley Griffin, the lead researcher who co-authored the study with Hilary Tackie, said the research team sat down with a representative group of 150 Black teachers from seven states. Those teachers were selected based on data from the 2012 Schools and Staffing Survey, compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Griffin, who serves as the director of K-12 research at Education Trust, said many studies have quantified the retention problem and examined the impact of teachers of color in classrooms. This study, however, gives voice to Black teachers, and contributes qualitative findings.

“We’ve read many clips about the low number of African-American teachers and low recruitment figure,” she told NewsOne. “But no one is really talking about retention. So we set out to listen to African-American teachers, and have conversations about what’s happening across the nation.”

The research found amazing similarities and continuity. It paints a picture that explains why the teachers entered the profession, the value they bring to schools, and the obstacles they face.

Many of the teachers said they felt “called” to teaching. They came to the profession with high expectations of their Black students and a desire to enable them to succeed. This calling, Griffin explained, often stemmed from a role model—a teacher or a relative.

One participant, an elementary school teacher from Oakland, said she wanted to impact her Black students in the same way that her fifth-grade teacher influenced her.

She said, “I make sure I get to know each and every one of my kids, and let them know that they can do it.”

The teachers said they feel a special connection with their Black students. “We bring familiarity to our students,” one participant said. “You know, they do like to look up and say, ‘Oh, OK, there is my auntie,’ or ‘There is my grandma,’ or ‘There is my cousin.’”

This connection, stemming mainly from common experiences, enables the teachers to empathize with the challenges their Black students encounter away from school.

However, there are negative consequences for this affinity with the students. These consequences diminish their chances of getting promoted and recognized for their skills.

School administrators often assign African-American educators to teach only Black students. As a result, White colleagues tend to view them as disciplinarians, but not skilled educators.

Many of the teachers said they spend nearly all their time playing the role of enforcer instead of developing their teaching skills and doing lesson planning.


Stereotyped as less educated, the Black teachers said they seldom get the opportunity to teach high-performing students and advanced courses, which would give them recognition as subject matter experts.

A focus group participant described getting pigeonholed as a disciplinarian of Black students this way:

“‘You do it so well, let’s just keep you here.’ If I’m doing the ABCs every day, I never really get to do anything of a higher caliber. I think a lot of times, as African-American teachers, we get stuck in a certain group, because you do it well.”

Griffin said the Black teachers told her team that they have unique stressors. Much of it stems from a sense of obligation to underserved Black students, which goes beyond academics.

They often find themselves “acting as a parent, a hairdresser, a chauffeur, an advocate, a counselor, or a cheerleader,” the study said. Serving the whole student often means spending their own money to ensure the students have basic necessities.

The takeaway from what the teachers said is that “recruiting Black teachers is not enough,” said Griffin. School district leaders and principals must “recognize and be mindful of the racial climate and how it affects teachers of color.”

Griffin said the next step is for school districts and their African-American teachers to have “a delicate conversation” about those issues and explore what support systems are needed to keep them in the profession.


Stop Being Weak:’ Roland Martin Blasts CMA For Bowing To Racist Backlash Against Beyoncé"This is where the Country Music Association needs to man and woman up and hold those folks to task," Roland Martin said of backlash against Beyoncé's performance.

Beyonce’s performance at the Country Music Awards sparked a bigoted backlash that apparently forced the Country Music Association to remove all mentions of the pop superstar from their social media accounts.

On Friday, Roland Martin, Host and Managing Editor of NewsOne Now,decided to weigh in on the CMA bowing down to the pressure of racists.

Martin began his fiery rebuke of the Country Music Association, detailing how the organization used Beyoncé to drive ratings on the same night of the seventh game of the World Series, but when White racist country music fans reacted to the performance, CMA cowered and did not respond.

Martin said, “What you should’ve done … is say how proud you were of Beyoncé and call out those bigots who were trashing her and her performance.”

The opinionated NewsOne Now host continued, “This is where the Country Music Association needs to man and woman up and hold those folks to task.”  

Martin went on to challenge CMA for their inconspicuous move to remove all mention of Beyoncé from their social media platforms to “stand up to racism, [and] stand up to bigotry” by posting the video clip of the performance and then expose the racists who espouse hate in response to it.

“What the CMA cannot do is be silent in the face of racism,” said Martin. Adding, “You owe America, you owe [it to] your fans to check those who chose to criticize Beyoncé.” 

Martin concluded, “Stop being scared, stop being weak, stop being impotent, put it back on your Facebook page, put it on your Instagram page, put it on your Twitter page, because America needs to see the bigots out there and expose them for who they really are. So stop being weak.”




A St. Louis Mother Wants Answers After Photo Surfaces Of Officer Posing With Her Dead SonA leaked photo shows a North County Cooperative officer wearing gloves, holding the arm of a corpse and giving a thumbs up.

A St. Louis mother is demanding answers after a photo surfaced that shows a white police officer posing with her dead son.

According to FOX 59 News, in August, Kim Staton’s son, 28-year-old Omar Rahman, was found dead from an accidental drug overdose. Staton says she hasn’t heard much from the authorities about her son’s death and was devestated when KMOV News released a leaked photo showing a North County Cooperative officer at the scene wearing gloves, holding onto her dead son’s arm giving a thumbs up. 

Staton stresses that there is no reasonable explanation as to why any officer would do something like that outside of being cruel and unprofessional.

“[When] they come to a call, they’re supposed to be there to help and protect, not doing what he was doing with thumbs up and a smirk on his face,” she exclaimed. 

Staton’s attorney, Antonio Romanucci, echoes her sentiments.

“It’s hideous. The implications of this photograph are just astronomical,” said Romanucci. “I have seen thousands and thousands of forensic photographs, I have never seen a staged photograph of an officer next to a deceased body.”

Romanucci is urging that there to be a complete investigation that is done by an agency other than the Co-op.

“Who was there that allowed this to go on? Was there any sergeant involved? Those are the questions that need to be asked and that’s what needs to be found here,” Romanucci said.

Meanwhile, the police told Stanton that they lost all of the pictures from that night since their police camera has gone missing.

(How convenient.)

Even worse: North County Co-op Chief Tim Swope refused to speak with the KMOV News reporter who was sent the picture, telling her off-camera that he doesn’t even want to see the pic, FOX 59 noted. But he claims they are conducted an internal investigation on the incident. 

Former St. Louis Chief Dan Isom told KMOV News that he is baffled as to why Swope won’t even look at the picture.

“See it, talk to the officer, get all the information relative to why they were there,” Isom said.

In the end, Stanton just wants to know what happened the night her son died.

“That’s what I am looking for, I’m looking for some answers,” she said.

Yes, we would also like to know what is so humorous about the sight of a dead Black man.




Lawsuit Claims Penn State and Fraternity Responsible for Death Of 18 Year Old Student 
By Nigel Boys

Despite surviving tremendous ordeals to be accepted as a member of a fraternity while he was at Penn State-Altoona University, 18-year-old Marquise Braham could not watch others go through the same so took his own life, according to a lawsuit.

Braham’s family claim that the teen was forced to “consume gross amounts of alcohol” and mouthwash, swallow live fish and gut and skin animals after he had killed them, all to become a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. They are suing the university and the suspended fraternity alleging that he jumped to his death off a New York hotel roof because of hazing, The Daily Mail reports.

The suit alleges that Braham was made to fight fellow pledges as part of the hazing activities and was burned with candle wax and deprived of sleep for 89 hours. He also had a gun held to his head by members of the fraternity during the hazing which continued for months, shortly before he died in March 2014, the lawsuit claims.


“Marquise is a good kid, was a good kid,” his father, Richard Braham told WNBC.

“I’m just trying to find out what happened to him. He pledged a frat, which isn’t against the law,” Braham’s father continued. “But somehow he ended up dead from it. How did that happen? That’s what I want to know,” he added.

Despite the fraternity’s national organization in Indianapolis claiming they hadn’t seen the results of law enforcement investigation, the chapter was suspended for six years following Braham’s death, according to Penn State officials. They are also barred from using university facilities or participating in campus events.

If the activities in the lawsuit are proven true, the members of the local fraternity “are in direct violation of the fraternity’s standards and expectations as well as its express anti-hazing policies,” said the Indianapolis organization. It added that it would continue to cooperate fully with all authorities associated with the investigation to bring out the truth of the matter.

The suit claims that although Braham went through all of the hazing rituals and was accepted as a member of the fraternity, he later text a friend that some of the activities he had to be present for during the hazing of the next class of pledges were “hard to watch.”

“But to do it to other children as part of leadership as an 18-year-old, he couldn’t do it,” Richard Braham told WNBC. “It was contrary to his entire existence. He couldn’t do it. I don’t think he knew a way out but to jump off that roof,” the distraught father added.

Braham killed himself the day before he was to return to the fraternity after struggling to cope with what he would have to witness and participate with in the hazing of others, the lawsuit claims. It also claims that the physical, psychological and academic suffering he was going through at the time was known by staff members at the university, but they did nothing about it.

“In my family’s opinion, both Penn State and Phi Sigma Kappa severely damaged our son, both physically and mentally, with hazing activities and even worse, sought to allegedly cover it up by destroying evidence,” Richard Braham said in a statement.


4-YEAR-OLD BOY ALONE IN HOUSE AFTER HIS MOTHER DIES


When Taijuan Littleton, a driver for Rent-A-Center, was making a scheduled delivery to an apartment in Buffalo, New York on Friday morning, he thought something was amiss when a little boy answered the call he made ahead of the delivery.

When the father of three got to the apartment, he realized that something more tragic was wrong within the household where he was making the delivery. What he eventually discovered was that 4-year-old Bryan Keith Allen Jr., had been living alone at home with his mother for two days after she had died, according to the Buffalo News.

When Littleton arrived at the apartment on the 1300 block of East Delavan Avenue, he knocked on Allen’s door, but Shaleena Hamilton, a longtime customer of his, did not come to answer, said Homicide Detective Sgt. Jim Dunham.

Adding that he could hear a little boy’s voice talking to his mother, asking her to wake up, Dunham said of Littleton. “He asked the boy to open the door, but he didn’t.”

“I realized right there it was not good,” said Littleton, adding that he decided to look through the window and saw the mother lying on the floor at the foot of the stairs. After calling 911, he again asked the boy to open the door and this time he did.

When Littleton realized Hamilton was dead, he took Bryan out to his truck to comfort and warm him until police arrived.

“I wrapped him up in a cover and took him outside to my van because it was very cold that day, just to get him out of the house,” Littleton said.

Police said that Hamilton had suffered a blood clot near her heart and died when she fell down the stairs breaking her neck, reported Syracuse.com.

“He thought she was sleeping,” said Nichols about Bryan. “He had been living off of milk and maple syrup,” he added.

When the Buffalo Police learned of Bryan’s tragic story, they contacted Lt. Steven Nichols, who is involved in a program that gives away bikes to children in the community, the outlet reports. As the story spread, other members of the community began dropping off gifts for Bryan with Police Department employees throughout the city.

By the end of the day, Bryan had a absolute mountain of gifts waiting for him at Buffalo Police Headquarters and he was given a shiny red bicycle on Monday from the program Nichols is involved with.

“Hopefully, it will make his Christmas a little bit better,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said while presenting the gifts to some of Bryan’s family members on Monday.

During her funeral over the weekend, Bryan kept talking about how his “mommy was sleeping,” but he appeared to be doing a little better on Monday, according to some of his relatives.

“He’s going to love this,” Thomas Porter, Bryan’s maternal grandfather told the Buffalo News about all the presents lined up for the child. “He’s not going to know what to open up first.”

One of Bryan’s uncles, a stepson of his maternal grandfather may come back to the Buffalo area to become a caregiver for the boy, said Porter.

In the meantime, a GoFundMe Page has been set up for Bryan, which has garnered over $230 of a goal of $500 by 8 people in 3 days.

“Any decent human being would have done the same, said Littleton, explaining what he did in a casual manner. “I don’t think I did anything special,” he added, but others think differently.

“The boy could have been there for countless more days, if not for the action of this individual,” Dunham said.

Police officials said if people are interested in donating to Bryan’s family, send to:
Buffalo Police Headquarters, 74 Franklin St., Buffalo NY


British Millionaire Cleared Of Rape Charge After Claiming He “Fell” Into Teen

Ehsan Abdulaziz called the alleged rape an accident.

Written By Desire Thompson

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Amillionaire property developer was cleared of criminal charges after he claimed he “accidentally” raped a teenage girl when he “fell” on top of her.

According to USA Today, Ehsan Abdulaziz, 46, was accused of raping an 18-year-old girl who slept over at his London flat after a night out drinking with her 24-year-old friend. Abdulaziz had sex with the older woman before his incident with the teenager.

The teen claimed Abdulaziz forced himself on her, but the British millionaire painted a different story. He claimed he went to see if the girl needed anything and she pulled him on top of her, causing him to fall. He said his penis was outside of his underwear because of his sexual relations with the teen’s friend.

The girl told police she was then unable to wake up her friend, so she called two other friends to pick her up. At the time of the August incident, Abdulaziz allegedly said, “She’ll have to prove it.” She was also scared to call the police immediately after because she didn’t want to “aggravate the situation.”

Abdulaziz’s semen was found inside the young woman, but he said his semen was on his hands from having sex with the 24-year-old. Judge Martin Griffiths reportedly allowed Abdulaziz to give evidence in private.

The women met Abdulaziz at Cirque le Soir nightclub, a popular club in London’s West End.

The jury acquitted him after 30 minutes of deliberation.