Showing posts with label Peoria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peoria. Show all posts

Monday, April 13, 2009

School Desegregation in Peoria, Illinois


A Staff Report of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, June 1977.

In 1966 when initial planning for desegregation began, minority students were concentrated in 9 of Peoria's 39 schools. Twenty of the city's schools had white enrollments of more than 98 percent, indicating the most minimal percentage of minority students in more than half the city's schools. Four schools were totally white.

The Board fully realized that the Peoria Public Schools must be integrated promptly to insure quality education and equality of educational opportunities for all children.

The plan was quickly put into effect to coincide with the fall 1968 opening of Peoria’s schools. A few incidents of limited physical violence occurred but the Peoria Journal Star, in its account of the desegregation process noted, "There were no major incidents. Busing, at least on a limited basis and as long as it did not involve advantaged whites, seemed to work well in Peoria.

In some respects, the Peoria schools during the 1970s began to look more segregated than even prior to the initiation of desegregation. In 1966 Peoria's minority students were concentrated in nine schools; eight of these schools failed to meet State guidelines because they had an over population of minority students. By the 1975-76 school year, the district had a total of nine schools which had an overpopulation of minority students by State standards.

[...]

On January 8, 1976, the Illinois Office of Education announced that Peoria District 150 was not in compliance with State desegregation guidelines. The State found 20 Peoria schools not in compliance and ordered the district to submit detailed desegregation plans. The order noted that failure to do so could result in a loss of funding and further legal action by the State. A new plan from the district has now been received by the State and is currently under review.

Superintendent Harry Whitaker agreed that Peoria's schools should be within the State guidelines, but has also argued that the district should not be made to bus white students to predominantly black schools to achieve this end:

"We believe in integration. There's no question about that," Mr. Whitaker stated, "but we don't believe in integration to the point that we have to move youngsters back and forth. We think that that is going to be detrimental....My goal is not to re-segregate District 150, but, hopefully, to maintain the community as it is now."

Read the entire report here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Again, not all young black children are thugs

Over at Peoria Story, Elaine Hopkins has an entry about children being discriminated against at March Madness and as a result, black leaders are up in arms. I know I’m not alone in feeling really bad for the teens who were turned away. After all, it’s not their fault if gangs run Peoria.

The NAACP and other black leaders are right, this is an injustice… (here comes the but), But didn’t reasonable people know that if children in Peoria were allowed to continue to run rampant and terrorize the community, that eventually people would begin to look at all youngsters who fit a certain criterion as thugs and trouble makers? Stereotyping? Of course, but any reasonable adult who has seen Crime View Community knows that if you live and/or do business in a certain part of Peoria, you have to make judgment calls about your safety. These days, even a simple, white t-shirt could be a sign of a gangbanger.

Don Jackson, NAACP President believes that “Black children were singled out in ...” I agree with Mr. Jackson, I don’t doubt that they were singled out. Although it‘s unfortunate that it happened and it is hurtful to the children, is this really the fight the NAACP needs to have at this time?

I think we can all agree, that the behavior displayed by the young people who are terrorizing this community is a symptom of a greater problem. The NAACP and black leaders need to address the root cause of why so many young black folks in this town feel like nobody gives a damn about them, therefore, they don’t give a damn about nobody. It's a vicious cycle and we have to break it.

In the meantime, our children, law abiding citizens, are being turned away at the door of the Civic Center and make no bones about it – it’s WRONG. However, (... and I'm totally playing the devil's advocate on this) is it really discrimination when reasonable folks would consider taking similar precautions because of the crime in Peoria and the subsequent information on Crime View Community? I mean, come on, businesses are locking the door and making people ring the doorbell before getting in.

The black population of Peoria, Illinois is upwards of 25,000. The vast majority of the crime is in the black community. The majority of the crimes are being committed by black youth. The majority of us live in the neighborhoods where people are getting shot everyday. Black children live in a town where when they are shot dead, the police just can’t seem to solve the crime, but they will put up a map to warn citizens of the areas to avoid.

People can’t go to a street carnival without possibly getting beat-up, cussed out or shot at. Women and elderly are getting mugged regularly. There are complaints of discrimination in city services. The schools are failing our children and there are reports of lunch rooms being terorrized by thugs. What I and other law abiding citizens of Peoria want to know is can the NAACP and black leaders please, please, please talk to somebody about these issues?