Students nationwide are falling behind due to the COVID pandemic, according to data quoted by Dr. Jarod Mendenhall, Muskogee Public Schools superintendent, on an Instagram video released yesterday. As a result, Muskogee will offer summer school to all students to catch up.
That should have been the lede of the story. But the data Mendenhall cited singled out black students as falling behind, leaving out all other minorities’ statistics and white statistics, and Instagram readers were offended.
One student wrote a concerned email to the superintendent:
“Why you put black students on their own is absolutely disgusting to me. What does race have to do with their learning?”
Others expressed their outrage on Instagram:
“it makes little sense why he would single out the black community,” one wrote. “why would he not also include Asian, Hispanic and Native America communities? ... it would probably be in your best interest to take the video down.”
“As an administrator ... this act of carelessness is disgusting. please remove this video.”
“Why would he single out the black community?”
“Maybe you need to enroll in that summer schooling to get some more education.”
Steve Braun, spokesman for the schools, said “Dr. Mendenhall is planning on putting out another video today addressing that.”