By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 1, 2018
Commissioner Bill Proctor and Superintendent Rocky Hanna.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- In a letter to the Leon County School Board, Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor said, "Nobody's talking about what is happening to black children at the hands of Leon County School District."
He says what's happening is unfair treatment of black children.
"Will you please do something about this situation?" he asked in the letter.
Proctor's letter asks the school board to have an independent consultant investigate the disparity of black graduation rates, suspension rates, punishment rates, and the overall success-failure of black students.
He told WCTV, "There's no reason to be a policymaker to sit on a school board and when you get information that is baffling and you do nothing. Silence cannot be your best response when the building is burning and children are dying."
Proctor says the system's bias spells trouble for black kids if teachers are ever armed.
"They're already doing a pretty good job in some respects of hurting kids. We have no explanation for why this disparity exists. So, to put a physical arm in their hands when they have another arm, called the ink pen that does a hell of a job of hurting kids. They don't explain it. We need an explanation right now," he said.
In a letter to Florida lawmakers dated February 26, Proctor said, "Arming scary and fearful teachers who are afraid of black boys and who dislike black boys is a formula for disaster that tragically will disproportionately see countless numbers of black children fall victim to potential trigger happy school teachers."
School Superintendent Rocky Hanna says in a statement, "I will not be baited into a verbal fight with Commissioner Bill Proctor. He crossed a line by saying our 'white teachers would use our black students' as 'simply target practice' if they were armed. I once again call on the commissioner to immediately apologize to the thousands of teachers in our community for his inflammatory remarks. I will always stand up for our teachers as they deserve better from a local elected leader."
Hanna has said that he is against teachers being armed.
In response to Proctor's disparity concerns, Hanna's statement says, "Our school board continues to work together on complex issues impacting our school system. We discussed student discipline practices at our most recent meeting and will continue to examine this important issue moving forward."
Proctor has not apologized as Hanna requested. "Lions don't talk with mice; and I have nothing more to say about that," Commissioner Proctor said..
Proctor wants results of an independent review on disparities to be presented to the public.
By: WCTV Eyewitness News
March 1, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor is calling on Leon County Schools to conduct an investigation into racial disparities in the treatment of students in the district, and Superintendent Rocky Hanna is firing back.
The heated discussion began Monday, after Proctor sent a letter to Florida lawmakers, speaking out against the proposal to arm teachers in Florida schools and calling for an investigation into data reported from the Florida Department of Education by the Tallahassee Democrat about racial disparities in Leon County.
Leon County Schools officials reacted to the letter on social media, saying it crossed the line and Proctor should apologize.
Instead, Proctor sent a letter on Thursday directly to members of the Leon County School Board, asking for an investigation.
Proctor's letter to the school board reads, in part:
"As the majority of the County’s school population, this population group needs a special look at why and how the Leon County schools are not serving black children with the same success as it serves its minority white student population.
"The extraordinary disparity in suspension rates between black and white students in the Leon County School District, reported in the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper Monday, February 26, suggests black school children are victims of racial bias and discrimination at the hands of Leon County School District."
Superintendent Rocky Hanna responded to Proctor in a statement, reading:
"I will not be baited into a verbal fight with Commissioner Bill Proctor. He crossed a line by saying our “white teachers would use our black students” as “simply target practice” if they were armed. I once again call on the commissioner to immediately apologize to the thousands of teachers in our community for his inflammatory remarks. I will always stand up for our teachers as they deserve better from a local elected leader.
"Our school board continues to work together on complex issues impacting our school system. We discussed student discipline practices at our most recent meeting and will continue to examine this important issue moving forward."
Proctor's complete letter to school board members is available here.