The following letter was sent to Dear JCPS by a former Manual student. We are publishing it with permission from the author, amid what appears to be emerging as a systemic and pervasive pattern of discrimination that has been allowed to fester in a number of our schools under the previous administration. By sharing this student’s testimony with our followers, our hope is that this type of behavior can be eliminated from our schools once and for all, so no other students or staff will be subjected to similar treatment. Dear JCPS encourages JCPS to take swift action and send a clear message that discrimination, in any form, will not be tolerated.
As someone who faced Mayes’ discrimination first hand, I’m glad that there is finally attention being paid to what’s been happening at Manual since he started there.
During my sophomore year at Manual, I was called down to his office concern a story that I was quoted in about a trans student. During this conversation, he attempt to assert that the reason he didn’t want this story published in the yearbook was because he didn’t want the student to face bullying from peers.
It was at this point in the conversation he looked to me, the only black student in the room, and stated that he was made fun of for black friends while in high school. Followed by “If wigger was a word when I was growing up, I would have been a wigger.”
He, to my face, used a word that combines a racial slur with white. As a young student at the school interacting with the new principal for the first time I was scared to react. I went back to classes thoroughly disturbed by what had transpired and feeling trapped.
Throughout the rest of time at Manual, he continue to suppress students speaking out. He continued his reign of bigotry across the Manual population. He tried to keep the BSU from forming and later during my time at Manual tried to change a story that chronicled the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. His bigotry didn’t stop with racism, but extended to the LGBTQ+ and disabled populations of the school. He has went unchecked for five years now. I hope this marks a change in that. It’s time that he is held accountable for the amount of damage he has caused.
2016 duPont Manual Graduate
The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has had a similar experience with leadership in a JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.