We’ve met the enemy: It’s some of us

‘Why are members of sororities and fraternities gathering petitions of support and lobbying for the retention of a Black principal who, over three years, failed to correct repetitive problems,’ asked Goliath. Davis, III, Ph.D.

GOLIATH J. DAVIS, III, Ph.D., Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG — My phone rang constantly yesterday with calls from family, friends and others informing me of reports surrounding the status of Lakewood Principal Erin Savage. Some said she was fired, and others reported she was being demoted. It is being reported that columns I have written over the last three years are the culprit.

I later learned that she might be transferred someplace else in the district. As stated in my last column, the student confirming behavior at Lakewood’s graduation on May 17 was the icing on the cake that led to her impending transfer if, in fact, a transfer is in order. I directed readers to the district’s website to view the graduation ceremony, but it was taken down, edited and reposted on May 19. If interested, you can now view the sanitized version.

Several callers were annoyed by statements posted on Facebook, and I encouraged them to ignore the comments and thanked them for their support. I find it interesting how some individuals will readily turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to egregious behaviors committed by friends and members of their ethnic group, sorority, or fraternity. This behavior is also a feature of various occupational groups, such as the police.

So, while I am not bothered by the statements, I am extremely annoyed by their messages. For example, why is it not appropriate for a white teacher or administrator to fail our children, but on the other hand, we want to ignore the same behavior when committed by a Black teacher?

Why are members of sororities and fraternities gathering petitions of support and lobbying for the retention of a Black principal who, over three years, failed to correct repetitive problems?

Why am I a villain for calling out poor administrative practices that have adversely impacted scholars of all ethnicities, and why am I blamed for advocating for eradicating what the best and brightest at Lakewood termed “administrative incompetence?”  More importantly, why was it ignored for three years and only acted upon when two white scholars protested during a graduation ceremony?

I am unaware of any protests by my African-American brothers and sisters when two Lakewood assistant principals were relieved of their duties in a move to right the ship. So, why can’t the head of the school be held to account?

I never called for anyone’s termination; I merely indicated they should do their jobs.

So, why didn’t Savage do her job, why didn’t Area Superintendent Dywayne B. Hinds, Sr. do his job and appropriately supervise her and why did it take Superintendent Kevin Hendrick so long to do his job? The miracle worker (Deputy Superintendent Woodford) gets a pass on this one due to her short tenure in her new job.

The operative word is “some.” In a recent conversation with a classmate who was gathering information for an article he anticipates writing, I asked why he was writing, given the subject of the article, if written, would be Black. His response was a simple one.

“I would hold a white man accountable.”

In other words, accountability is not predicated on race or gender. I thank that student and other color and gender-blind community members who are committed to improving educational outcomes for our students.

We have met the enemy — it is all who put friendship and organizational affiliation above the quality education of our Black scholars and all who ascend to leadership and love the fact that they are there more than they love making a difference.

4 Replies to “We’ve met the enemy: It’s some of us”

  1. Marilyn Bell says:

    I have a few questions about the enemy article.
    1. How many scholars have these sororities and fraternities members worked with one on one to improve the academic performance? Tutored? Etc.
    2. What individual support have any of the sororities and fraternities provided to the scholars, schools or district?
    3. How committed are they to any other scholars, to improve and address the scholars understanding the importance to the educational process.
    4. Have you taught anyone other than your own children to pay it forward, by doing it themselves.
    Many other questions can be offered, but seriously this is the lowest level of questions that can help each of us determine if whatever is needed has been provided. This educational process is a huge situation that needs to be addressed and restructured. The educational process has not been overhauled to meet the needs of the scholars in this district. Dr. Goliath J. Davis III Is not to blame for the failure of our students, if anything the catalyst that will lead to the necessary changes in our district.

    1. Keith Griffin says:

      He’s working for someone with this HIT JOB!!!!

    2. Jeff Davis says:

      Nope, he is not to blame for the failures of students, he is to blame for not highlighting the success of students. He is to blame for not being present on the campus to help the students. He is to blame for not calling out the racism seem at the district level. He is to blane all the vitriol that the teachers who do their best everyday, receive when he writes these articles.
      Where is he when kids need tutoring? Where is he even kids are homeless and come to school in dirty clothes? Where is when children are beating each other up in the bud circle? Where is he when children lose classmates to gun violence?
      Oh yeah, writing shitty articles about Erin Savage and not doing a damn thing for the community.

    3. Hector says:

      Excellent points made by Ms. Bell! Exactly what I’ve been thinking for years.

      Where are the Black community leaders like Mr. Davis when it comes to getting in the trenches and working directly with the students about whom they give so much lip-service to caring???

      I invite Mr. Davis and other concerned individuals to visit Lakewood High next fall during a regular school day. Talk to the students who are wandering the halls about the importance of a high school education. Get to know these kids and the personal challenges they face at home and at school. Guide them in overcoming these obstacles and inspire them to strive for academic and personal success.

      Share YOUR story with them as a role model. Give them HOPE for their future. EMPOWER them.

      If kids are being let down by their families (or guardians) and school staff, step up and make a difference! Walk the walk if you’re gonna talk the talk. Lead by example.

      In the faculty meetings before the first day of classes (August 2022) I was dismayed to hear administrators issue the directive not to send any students to the office with referrals the first 2 or 3 days of school. How can teachers set the tone for discipline from the outset of the school year if they aren’t allowed to write up a student for unacceptable behavior?

      How does it benefit the school’s rating to avoid documenting and enforcing discipline?

      Another issue is the watering-down of AP, Honors, and CAT program classes. I’m not aware of any metric by which it is determined which students should be enrolled in these supposedly advanced, rigorous courses.

      How does it benefit the school’s rating to pad their numbers for AP and Honors classes? Whose scrutiny are they avoiding?

      I recently asked a freshman, who is in both pre-AP English and remedial reading, how many books she read this year for English class. None. They read short stories and poems in class, though, she answered. I asked her if she received a reading list for the summer. No.

      The standard of requiring summer reading for students enrolled in Honors and AP English has withered and become inconsistent throughout the district. A couple decades ago, students were required to read at least 3 or 4 books over the summer. Authors like Toni Morrison, Chinua Achebe, Hemingway, Mark Twain, and Shakespeare.

      Lowering academic standards in high school will only make success in college more challenging for Lakewood graduates. It is a short-sighted practice designed to protect certain jobs.

      Replacing Lakewood’s administrators may improve discipline on a superficial level, but academic success starts at home. Without a home environment that’s conducive to studying, without a sense of personal responsibility learned from role models and family, many of our students will continue to fall short of our expectations and state standards.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top