A Texas school board member is facing outrage and calls for resignation following a racist rant he delivered at a recent meeting of the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District near Houston.
Scott Henry, a trustee on the school board, left attendees aghast with his response to a presentation by a diversity and inclusion consultant which reviewed the economic achievement disparities among racial and ethnic groups in the district.
Henry blamed the district's poorly performing students on Black teachers, mocked the school system's diversity efforts and claimed the diversity consultant's data was dishonest.
See his comments below.
As outlined by Onika Mayers, the diversity and inclusion consultant who addressed the meeting, students of color and those from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Cypress-Fairbanks district fall short of several academic markers, including English language skills, and have disproportionately higher rates of suspension.
Mayers attributed those outcomes in part to the fact that Cypress-Fairbanks students of color have very few faculty and teaching staff they can identify with given that the district's staff is predominately white.
Given the scores of studies across decades that have shown these patterns are extremely common and consistent in American schools, Mayers' findings shouldn't have been much of a surprise. But Henry wasn't buying it. He called Mayers' analysis "a pile of rubbish" and claimed her painstakingly collected data was unreliable. As he put it:
“I’m a big data guy, so I know data. Data can be skewed any way you want it to."
Henry then provided his own explanation for the disparities in achievement among students of color that was downright shocking.
“Do you know what the statewide percent is for Black teachers? Ten percent."
"Houston [Independent School District], which I'll use to shine an example, you know what their average percentage of Black teachers is? Thirty-six percent. I looked that up."
"You know what their dropout rate is? Four percent."
"I don't want to be 4 percent… I want to be the premium place where people go to be.”
Henry's statements enraged many in the Houston area, from prominent local political leaders to parents of school-age children, many of whom took to Twitter to condemn his racist screed and call for his resignation.
Henry issued a statement on Twitter in his own defense, claiming his statements had been taken out of context. He has since deleted his Twitter account entirely.