Open Letter to Franklin Administration re: Events of Racial Insensitivity

Frank McShane
Anonymous 50 Comments
256 Signatures Goal: 1,000

Today, a video of a white substitute teacher repeatedly trying to justify his use of the “N Word” in a class full of Franklin students was brought to my attention. I am sure you are aware of this video as well; however, I felt the need to write this letter and express my disappointment with the learning environment Franklin has fostered since my graduation. In the last year, alone, I have heard of no less than three incidences of white teachers callously using/justifying the use of the “N Word” in clearly non-educational settings. This is unacceptable. Franklin students deserve only the most supportive, healthy learning environment, which cannot be accomplished while teachers continue to direct, at best, racially insensitive language at students.

Today I am ashamed to call myself a Franklin alum. As long as this behavior is tolerated in my alma mater, I will not be able to support Franklin by any means, especially financially. I am not willing to donate money to a school which continues to allow incidences of racism to go unpunished. Although there have been at least three incidents like this in the past year, there has been no meaningful action or change on the part of the school. I am not alone in this feeling of disappointment. Fellow 2015 and 2016 alumni have also expressed their deep disappointment in the environment Franklin has created since our graduation. A number of them have also agreed to withhold donations until future actions are taken which seek to address the problem of racial ignorance and insensitivity at Franklin. It is difficult for current students to organize and stand up for themselves in instances such as these. That is why we alumni feel we must take action. I hope that one day soon I will again be proud to call myself a Franklin graduate; however, as long as Franklin’s culture is one of ignorance, intolerance, and insensitivity, I will continue to stand up for what I feel is right. This letter will be forwarded not only to your offices, but to various alumni groups as well. We hope you will take this issue seriously, and institute some real changes in Franklin’s culture.

  • Winston Ho
    Winston Ho United States, Metairie
    May 28, 2017
    May 28, 2017
    BFHS, Class of 1995.

    As an educator myself, I have had similar discussions as the incident here with other teachers, including another teacher at Ben Franklin.
    Usually, I don't confront prejudiced comments for fear of starting an argument. However, prejudice is being taught in our schools, so I am not at all surprised by this incident. Respectful dialog creates an environment of tolerance and understanding, but bigoted words create an environment where bigoted actions become acceptable. If we as a society cannot recognize that racism exists, then we are endorsing it.
  • Stanley Smith
    Stanley Smith United States, New Orleans
    May 07, 2017
    May 07, 2017
    Class of 2011.
  • Ramona Catalanello
    Ramona Catalanello United States, New Orleans
    May 07, 2017
    May 07, 2017
    Class of 1993. I do not approve.
  • Sean Fahey
    Sean Fahey United States, New Orleans
    May 06, 2017
    May 06, 2017
    There's no excuse for this. This man should be fired immediately.
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