On Sunday, The Ruston Daily Leader reported that Irene Booker, the teacher who initiated the Sept. 20 Jena 6 rally at Alma J. Brown Elementary School, would be the first to be dealt with by the GSU administration. Though we don’t disagree with that decision, we do, however, believe that if the dean of the College of Education moves forward with the recommendation to terminate Booker, he should also move forward with the recommendation to terminate the principal and other teachers involved in the rally.
The principal acknowledges she found out about the rally as it was in progress. At that time, she should have stopped the rally if she felt it was inappropriate. Anytime you have children participating in an event that is as sensitive as this one was, you must have permission from the parents. This was not done.
Booker could have taught the noose lesson in a different way, but the other teachers and administrators who witnessed the event are just as “guilty” as she is. No one ever publicly came to Booker’s defense. They only looked out for their own jobs.
How can Booker influence other teachers to take part in an unapproved rally? Shouldn’t those teachers have sent home permission slips to parents? Shouldn’t those teachers have made sure the event was approved? Shouldn’t those teachers also have followed their lesson plans?
You see, in the end, it’s the teachers who made the ultimate decision to participate in the activity, not Booker. We need to learn how to take the responsibility for our actions. This is not a time for the blame game; it’s a time for showing accountability and ways to improve on any mistakes made.
Booker, who has been in the education field for many years, has never had a case of this magnitude launched against her. To be terminated for exercising an educational experience for children is a very serious decision.
We feel the worst thing is that Dean Warner never publically addressed the issue, whether defending or condemning his teachers.
We are in no way saying that Booker followed protocol and procedure in organizing the event. We’re just saying don’t throw the book at her and slap the others on the wrist.
We’re not trying to make anyone lose their job. We’re just pointing out the possible inequity in punishment. After all, isn’t that the issue that mobilized international support for the Jena 6?
If Booker is terminated, it’s not because of the rally. It’s because GSU doesn’t want the national media to make us out to be unaccountable for our actions. But haven’t the media already painted GSU out to be just that?
That’s our view!