Monday, April 26, 2010

When Keepin' It Traaap Goes Wrong.

It's nothing new to see cRappers spending their community service hours speaking to kids. Whether or not a convicted felon telling kids to make wise choices is a good idea or not is clearly something that could be debated ad nauseum, but one thing everyone can agree upon is that folks in places of power need to conduct themselves with a level of professionalism befitting their titles. Witness the strange confluence of these seemingly unrelated trains of thought.
A Henry County (GA) parent is complaining he wasn’t notified when Atlanta rapper T.I. was invited to speak to his children’s school. And he was shocked by the response the school’s principal gave him.

Tom Myers declined to talk to an AJC reporter about his concerns, but told WSB that he wanted to know ahead of the March 5 anti-bullying assembly that the rapper would be appearing at the school. Myers was upset that T.I., a convicted felon also known as Clifford Harris, was speaking to students at Woodland Middle School.

“Had I had the opportunity to not let them [my children] go, I would have had them sit out,” he told WSB.

T.I. served a year-long prison sentence last year on federal gun charges for trying to purchase a machine gun. As part of the condition of his release, T.I. was required to serve more than 400 hours of community service, including speaking engagements at schools.

In an e-mail to principal Terry Oatts, Myers said he told Oatts to give parents a choice of whether to “allow our children to be exposed to these questionable individuals.”

Oatts’ reply, according to e-mails provided to WSB: “I thought about asking a guy who snorted cocaine and got arrested for DUI when he was 30 to come and speak to our kids, but President George W. Bush was not available.”

[Editor's Note: Dang, now that was ice cold! Completely unprofessional for a principal, but still, ice cold!]

Myers said he was floored.

“I could not believe that he would put that in an e-mail,” the parent told WSB.

But Oatts continued in his e-mails with Myers, reportedly pointing out that even the president had made mistakes as a young man, and that T.I. was trying to encourage students was ‘to take their education seriously, put forth their best effort, pursue their dreams and not engage in bullying.'

Henry County Schools spokeswoman Connie Rutherford said school officials are aware of Myers' complaints and "consider all allegations and concerns seriously." Rutherford would not, however, say what action, if any, would be taken against Oatts.
I'm assuming Principal Oatts is so pissed cause he's one of the 12 people alive that actually likes Tip's horrendous new single with The Black Eyes Peas. That song is so turrible, I don't even have a snappy one-liner to describe it.

There's no other reason to explain why the principal snapped on the parent like that.

I know it's sorta (un)related, but I can't help but recall a story from my youth when I read this. My Freshman year of high school, my French class for some odd reason ended up going to our county's courthouse for a tour.[1] I, being the only black kid in class, was naturally a little uncomfortable with this. I mean, the likelihood of running into someone I personally knew, with embarrassing results, was far higher for a kid like me than my silver spooned classmates.

Anyhow, the tour of the courtrooms and lecture from some judges, bailiffs, and lawyers goes off without a hitch. I don't recognize a single person, and breathe a sigh of relief. Then, for some odd reason, my teacher decides to ask the tour guide to take us through the "detention center", where petty criminals are held prior to processing. Sweat beads start to roll from my forehead.

We go down a dark corridor of stairs, and the iron gates open to lead us to the cells. And no sooner than our class enters the holding area do I hear my name.

"AB! AB!"

Damn! Damn! Damn! It is my cousin Glenward, sitting in his typical post-weekend home away from home. I can't help but acknowledge him, because at this point, the teacher, tour guide, and all 15 of my classmates are looking at me. I'm the only "AB" in the class after all.

"Yeah, Glenwood" I reply, embarrassed as hell.

"AB! Cuz! Tell yo' Daddy to come down here and get me out!" he replies, desperately grasping his only lifeline.

"Uh, ok." I respond, lowering my head and walking out of the retaining area as swiftly as possible.

After the tour was over, and we all got back to the bus, some of my classmates came up and asked me the inevitable.

"AB, was that your cousin?"


"Man, that was so cool!!! Wow!" they replied in amazement. I was for some reason a relieved to hear they were actually impressed that my 3rd cousin 8 times removed was a predicate felon. Perhaps they'd also be equally impressed with my 4th aunt 6 times removed who has 11 children all living on EBT cards and section 8, yet still has more disposable income every month than I do because she sells steamed crabs by the bushel out of her kitchen. Off the books, of course.

So, I get home and tell my Dad about the teacher's embarrassing decision to change the tour and take us to the cellblock. Surely my old man would be enraged and go up to the school looking to bust some heads.

"Just be happy it wasn't your Aunt Delores," the old man replied.

I say all this to say, parents do have a right to be upset at things shown to their kids in school, without prior notice. Whether or not my Dad did.

You guys already know where I stand on TI, and the silly stuff he's done to actually turn his incarceration into a career advancement vehicle. I didn't like that MTV reality show, and I don't like this nonsense. Apparently Myers wasn't the only parent who had a problem with this.

Seriously, folks, sometimes going the boring and safe route (ie: bringing in a cop to explain why bullying is bad), rather than the glamorous (ie: a millionaire who just finished doing a bid for amassing a stockpile of military grade firearms because he didn't feel "safe" on the streets) one is better. Mr. Oattes shouldn't lose his job for this, but he definitely deserves a "do better!" for this nonsense.

I wish someone would have told my French teacher the same thing.

Question: Was inviting TI to speak to a classroom of middle schoolers about the fine nuances of bullying a good idea, or does Mr. Oattes need a bit more balance and a bit less Grand Hustle in his iPod? Should the principal be reprimanded for responding to the parent in that manner?

Henry principal faces backlash over T.I. visit [AJC]

[1] No, I still can't remember why a French class was touring the courthouse.

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