With just weeks before the new Rutherford B. Gaston Middle School opens in southwest Fresno, community and church leaders are calling on Fresno Unified School District to reconsider its hiring of a white teacher to instruct African-American, Latino and Southeast Asian studies there.
At an early morning news conference Monday, a small group of concerned citizens led by Rev. Karen Crozier met in front of the school on Church Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
People at the gathering said the new school, which is the first southwest Fresno middle school in decades, needs teachers who reflect the ethnic and racial background of its students.
Crozier and others were dismayed to learn the person hired to teach the school's three cultural studies classes is white. District officials initially considered hiring a teacher of color, she said, but ultimately hired Peter Beck, a former teacher at Hoover High School.
"We're just saying what the community wants. We didn't fight for a white male or female teacher to educate our babies," Crozier said. "We still are at these racial fault lines, and we want someone who will be able to think critically about those racial fault lines and how do we help heal, to restore the problems that have existed.
I thought the civil rights movement was about equal rights and a color-blind society. Apparently it was about preferential treatment and free stuff.