Racial Discrimination and Free Speech Violations at Wilcox County High School

Individuals at Wilcox County High School and the Georgia Department of Education are working together to remove the only African-American teacher at the high school.  If they are successful, the school will not have a minority teaching in a core subject.  The school has made the decision not to extend a contract for next year to the only other minority teacher teaching a core academic subject at the school.  Historically, a dismal number of African-American teachers have been hired by the Wilcox County Board of Education.  Wilcox County High School is located in Rochelle, Georgia, which is approximately 70 miles south of Macon, Georgia.

Wilcox County High School is such a low performing academic school that it qualified for a School Improvement Grant (SIG). Visit the following address for more information about a School Improvement Grant (SIG):  http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/index.html. The Black male teacher was hired by the Wilcox County Board of Education through a School Improvement Grant to teach in the Wilcox Academy for Varied Education (WAVE). WAVE is a performance learning center and a “school within a school” serving to increase the academic achievement of high school students who are not on grade level and who have been identified as needing to benefit from the advantages of a performance learning center.

Unfortunately, the Black male teacher was not provided with any instruction about meeting the expectations of the School Improvement Grant and how to meet the expectations of a standards-based classroom.  Although the Black male teacher has served as a college instructor at two prestigious research universities, this is his first year of teaching at the K -12 level.

Through the School Improvement Grant, Wilcox County High School was able to hire an English Instructional Coach and Math Instructional Coach.  The following is a list of some of the primary duties of Instructional Coaches: providing teachers with model lessons, co-teaching, working one-on-one with students to offer instructional support, and providing teachers with essential resources.  Unfortunately, Louise Daffin, Wilcox County High School English Instructional Coach, has not done a single model lesson, has not done any co-teaching, and has only provided approximately a month of one-on-one assistance with students in the classroom, which was during the 1st 9 Weeks grading period, while at Wilcox County High School.  She has not been in the Black male teacher’s classroom helping to facilitate instruction and working one-on-one with students since the 1st 9 Weeks grading period.  Louise Daffin is a White woman.

Chad Davis, Wilcox County High School Principal, was informed by the African-American male teacher that Louise Daffin was not providing model lessons, was not co-teaching, and was not working one-on-one with students in his classroom.  Chad Davis is a White man.  Each time the Black male teacher would report that Louise Daffin was not in his room providing him with the assistance she is supposed to offer to him Chad Davis would say, “I know. They are going to be coming in doing model lessons.”  He has stated this repeatedly.  Unfortunately, only several weeks of school remain and she has not been made by Chad Davis to come in and do anything in his classroom.

The two new White female teachers in the WAVE who were hired at the same as the Black male teacher have been provided with serious instructional support.  Chad Davis made it available for a veteran teacher to get her schedule changed so that she can come in one of the new White female teachers’ classroom each day.  The new White female Math instructor was provided with serious support and resources by the Math Instructional Coach.  Ostensibly, the fact that the Black male teacher is Black did not qualify him to receive any type of instructional support that comes anywhere close to the instructional support the two new White teachers have received.

The Black male teacher was informed by Chad Davis that “SIG has defunded” him for the next academic year, even though Chad Davis has recommended to the Superintendent that the Black male teacher be hired back for the next academic year.  The Black male teacher requested that he receive the reasons why he was being “defunded by SIG,” and Chad Davis said that he did not know and that the Black male teacher would have to ask Dr. Darrel May, a White man who serves as the School Improvement Specialist and works for the Georgia Department of Education.  The Black male teacher’s request to receive the reasons why he has been “defunded by SIG” was granted by Chad Davis.  Chad Davis arranged a meeting between the Black male teacher and Dr. Darrel May.

During the meeting, Dr. Darrel May explained the reasons for the recommendation he made to his supervisor, Bari Geeslin, a White woman who works for the Georgia Department of Education and the person who primarily oversees the SIG Grant, why the Black male teacher should be defunded.  Dr. May stated based on private conferences with Louise Daffin, based on observations, the level of instruction, the fact that the Black male teacher was “argumentative during feedback,” and the fact that the Black male teacher was the only teacher in the whole school who did not follow the recommendations of veteran teachers after observations.

Dr. Darrel May has never had a single conference with the Black male teacher after conducting observations in his classroom.  He walks by the Black male teacher each day and does not even speak to him.  He has only sent the Black male teacher an email about what he observed in his classroom, but did not meet with the Black male teacher to discuss the observation.  Chad Davis told the Black male teacher that he receives a report from Dr. May each time he observes his classroom and that he would get those observations to him.  Unfortunately, Chad Davis did not send those observation reports to the Black male teacher until after the recommendation to defund him was made.  There were only two observations that Chad Davis sent him via email and Chad Davis stated that was all he had concerning observations conducted by Dr. May in the Black male teacher’s classroom.

Because the Black male teacher voiced his disagreement on various issues, especially on the teaching of persuasive writing, Dr. Darrel May and Bari Geeslin thought that this Black male teacher was out of his place by disagreeing with anything they were saying.  They simply wanted him to be a rubber stamp and not exercise his right of free expression/speech.  When a Black man voices his opinion, it can often be perceived by a White person as not an opinion but an act of defiance.  For this to still be the case in the 21st century is quite ridiculous.

Subscribe to Revolutionary Paideia because more information about this situation and the individuals involved will be published here in the coming days.

If you support this Black male teacher and believe that he has been discriminated against and his right to free expression/speech has been violated, and that he should not be defunded by SIG, then email the following people and express your support for the Black male teacher at Wilcox County High School: Chad Davis, Principal of Wilcox County High School at davisc@wilcox.k12.ga.us, Steve Smith, School Superintendent at smiths@wilcox.k12.ga.us, Louise Daffin, English Instructional Coach at daffinl@wilcox.k12.ga.us, Dr. Darrel May, School Improvement Specialist and Georgia Department of Education employee at mayd@wilcox.k12.ga.us, and Bari Geeslin, SIG supervisor for Wilcox County High School and Georgia Department of Education employee at bgeeslin@doe.k12.ga.us.

If you are near Rochelle, Georgia, come to Wilcox County High School and voice your support for the Black male teacher in person to Chad Davis.  Let’s not allow this serious injustice to go unpunished and unexposed!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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31 comments

      1. I have sent my emails. I do agree that changes need to be made with our school system especially when it comes to promoting racism. I think you are a great teacher and am proud that you taught my child. I stand behind you 150%. Good Luck and God Bless.

  1. I am in WAVE, and quite frankly this teacher is better than any other teacher we have in English. They need to get their stuff straight. HE HAS HIS RIGHTS!

  2. Wow! Completely stupid and this whole article is discriminating again whites also. Obviously we know chad davis is white. And obviously we know mr daniels is black, so what? And concerning mr may, I have never heard the man speak to anyone this whole year, period. At all. Not to the whites. Not to the blacks. And as a grown man, in need of a job, this is not the time nor place for this article.

  3. The same injustice was done to our ONLY Hispanic teacher at Wilcox County High Scool. However, even though many of us students and parents voiced our opinions, we were all lead to a disappointment by the administration and board members of our school. Trust me, racial discrimination has always been an issue in Wicox County, and honestly I don’t see it changing any time soon. There is way too much ignorance in this county for a change like that to be made.

    1. You all are so right. There is so much underlying and overt racism in Wilcox County that it is ridiculous. What’s even more crazy is to have a school system that is 85-95% family members. Tell me where that exists and how prevalent is it in other school systems in Ga. It’s okay because we will continue to fight. Mr. Daniels, as a Black American woman I too deal with these same issues in business and beyond but its people like us who do make changes happen. It only takes one person to start the process of change. We are fighting for an Integrated Prom this year and I know the fight will be even harder for this but we will not give up. Know that you are not alone and we are fighting with and for you.

  4. ……note that i am white , and have friends that take the mans class and they say he is great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. That a way! Lets not take the blame for our own ineptitude. Its funny to me how quick you are to play the race card! However, I am amazed that you have streatched your level of unprofessionalism so low that you are getting your students involved to fight your “battle” for you. I say so long and good riddance to you!

    1. You dummy! The students got involved themselves. Trust me, there is no need for students to fight this “battle.” The ingrained history of racial discrimination that African-Americans have suffered from through the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow created the “race card, so, even though this “race card” is not being played in this case, you have yourself, your parents, and your ancestors to thank for the creation of the “race card.” The “race card” is a monster of your own creation.

  6. Oh and just so you know I am white. I think Mr. Daniels is a great teacher. That is why I am on his side. We are definitely not fighting his battle for him, because no one will listen to us. He didn’t tell any of us to do what we did. We did it on our own because we all love Mr. Daniels and think that he is a great teacher. I bet you can ask most anyone that takes his class what they think of Mr. Daniels, and they will tell you the same thing.

  7. In our world today, people don’t seek the need to be right in their argument rather they just choose to be loud with their voices…… It is too often that the view of others is that if they are just really loud and use key and powerful words then the world will cave into their demands. Remember Mr Daniels, those that persecuted Jesus were not right, they were just loud enuff!!!!!

    1. When you don’t know the facts, it’s ignorant for you to say what you said. Yes, loud noises need to be made when injustices like these occur to make it known to everyone. However, I want you to know that what’s happening in response to these injustices is not just loud noises and powerful words. Stay tuned!

  8. HI, I’m another black guy who does a shitty job and thinks my way is the best way. When it turns out that I suck at my job, I sue everyone to get my way. This is how blacks get things nowadays. We sue people and make everything based on color rather than doing it the right way and earning it.

    Thanks God my kid has no black teachers! What a waste of student loans… unless you got your edjumacation for frees cause you a darky.

    1. It’s obvious that you need mental health services. I have a distinguished record that was earned without a White person giving me anything. You, however, are someone who needs to re-evaluate your purpose in life. You are a person who needs to step his game up. While you are trying to criticize someone with such a distinguished record as mine, you need to work to try to gain a record that would measure up to at least 1% of what I have accomplished. You have proven yourself to be undeniably stupid.

  9. Wow…am from Canada and saw articles about the segregated prom and then found this. I am shocked and disgusted. Apparently the old south tradition of bigotry is alive and well in Wilcox County. How are there not protest marches happening in this community. As far as I am concerned, this community should be under siege with protests until the community confronts its perverse character. Bigotry is a disease. Bigotry has no place in the character of any Christian.

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