The following email was sent to Dear JCPS. 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 former Manual 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.
If I might offer another opinion in the discussion over Principal Mayes, I would like to say that he and I are the same age and we grew up in a Louisville that was just emerging from a drunken
Bacchanalia of segregation and homophobia. I was indoctrinated, programmed, hard-wired in a culture that everyone now finds appalling, offensive, racist, insensitive: barely beyond the primitive first step of Brown v. Board, and LONG before LGBTQ could even dream of being open about the truth they were living in secret – and I attended Louisville public schools in which my generation began to adjust to a new day. I attended Atherton in the day when the Rebel mascot was a confederate soldier: only in my senior year, did we realize those days were over, and belonged in the past. We changed the confederate Rebel to a Minuteman. Can you believe that? It wasn’t so long ago. I believe Principal Mayes is working from a place of good intentions, but perhaps is, like I, still struggling under the weight of the recent, and pretty gruesome past. I can’t speak for his experiences, but I have had the experiences of living for a few years in Africa, Harlem (Sugar Hill), and Hollywood – and I believe a few of the scales have fallen from my eyes. These racial/lgbtq bootcamps (for me) have helped me grow, but that has taken time and effort on my part. I believe my prejudices and biases – which I received in Louisville in my mother’s milk, so to speak – are not cured, but I like to think they are in remission.
My experience with Principal Mayes is that there has never been malice in his mistakes – or what I perceive as his missteps. I would tend to err on the side of charity, as I remember clearly the times in which I grew up – but my experiences have not been those of the other letter writers.
Dr. Randolph Wieck
teacher, duPont Manual
The views expressed here are those of the author. We share it with our followers because transparency and accountability within our district remain our primary focus. 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.