I recently read about the Okaloosa County School District settling a racial harassment case involving Baker School. I have to say the news has me in disbelief, because I don’t remember the school having such racial issues when I attended there.
I started attending the school in the fifth grade and graduated from there in 2002. I will admit that my memory is not the best or that I could have been totally oblivious to racially-related incidents.
Although the African-American student population at Baker School is small, I remember there not being any racial hostility. In high school, I remember our star quarterback being black and dating a white cheerleader at that time.
I even remember not too long ago, when the Baker community, including Baker School, showing their support for Finis Gaston. Gaston, an African-American Baker School alumnus, was featured on ABC’s ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ in 2010.
The only incident, I can recall when the ‘N-word’ was openly used was during a middle school history class. On that day, a white student mispronounced "Niger" in Niger River. The teacher quickly corrected the student.
So what happened? When did Baker School allegedly become so racist and why?
By no means do I think the entire student body at the school is completely racist. However, more could have been done by school administrators and fellow students to keep these incidents from occurring.
It sounds like this African-American family, moving to the Baker area from Virginia, found out the hard way that Baker School is unwelcome towards their race. Not only is that unfortunate, it’s also unacceptable.
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