Florida Elementary School Segregates Black Students in Fear Based Assembly

Florida Elementary School Segregates Black Students in Fear Based Assembly

Bunnell Elementary school taking flack statewide

Jim McCool
Jim McCool
August 24, 2023

As if Florida's educational landscape has not caught enough headlines recently, a Florida elementary school is stewing in hot water over isolating black students over, "low test scores," and coaxing them with gift cards.

Bunnell Elementary school reportedly held an assembly, "only for black students," according to the Daily Beast.  The assembly consisted of vast promises, such as fast food in the shape of gift cards, and warnings of being in prison or being prematurely dead if they don't improve their academic standing.

"You left the white children to continue their education, and the Black children had to go out to be talked about the consequences of not being successful," one angry parent said.  The parent's sentiment was not alone, as according to WESH 2 News, parents were infuriated by what seemed to be a racially segregated assembly.

WESH 2 News also reported that even black students with high scores were called to the meeting that was advertised as one for low scoring students.  Students as young as ten came home to their parents with sentiments such as, "‘They want our grades to be higher, and if we get a higher grade, then we will be rewarded with McDonald's or Chick-fil-A,’” one mom reported her child stated.

Superintendent Moore responded to the statewide criticisms in a condemnation of the assembly, stating, "I’ve had the opportunity to sit down with Bunnell Elementary Principal Donelle Evensen following an assembly of 4th and 5th-grade students. We have been able to talk about what led to this assembly and steps that were or were not taken before or after it. In speaking with Mrs. Evensen, it is clear there was no malice intended in planning this student outreach. However, sometimes, when you try to think 'outside the box,' you forget why the box is there. While the desire to help this particular subgroup of students is to be commended, how this was done does not meet the expectations we desire among Flagler Schools. We want our parents and guardians to actively participate in their children's educational successes. Without informing them of this assembly or of the plans to raise these scores, our parents were not properly engaged. I will continue working with Mrs. Evensen and her team to find more appropriate ways to affect change on their campus, even as we continue to investigate this particular issue. I’m also asking anyone in our community who may have questions, please contact Mrs. Evensen at Bunnell Elementary or myself. That said, from this point forward, all of our schools will engage our parents, no matter what group or subgroup their children may be in, in our continued efforts to raise achievement among all students."

While the policies of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) seemingly have nothing to do with the incident, it would not be far fetched for his political opponents to conflate this incident with the recent controversial educational standards he has implemented, one of which has been scrutinized heavily for finding silver linings in American slavery.

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Jim McCool

Jim McCool

Jim is a graduate of Florida State University where he studied Political Science, Religion and Criminology. He has been a reporter for the Floridian since January of 2021 and will start law school in 2024.

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