Thursday, March 5, 2009

Roger Williams Middle School Adminstrator Placed On Leave For Stepping On Dominican Flag

Oh boy, here we go. This is going to cause a ruckus in the city for sure, via ProJo:

An administrator at Roger Williams Middle School has been placed on paid leave after he reportedly grabbed a Dominican flag from at least one student and stepped on it. Several students brought flags to school on Friday to celebrate the Caribbean nation’s 165th independence anniversary, school officials said yesterday. During a confrontation with one or more students, the administrator snatched the flag away, threw it to the floor and stepped on it, according to Sen. Juan Pichardo, D-Providence. And state Rep. Grace Díaz, D-Providence, said that the administrator said something like, “We mop the floor with your flag.”

School officials said they don’t know what sparked the incident.As word spread, students became increasingly upset and a large food fight broke out in the cafeteria, school officials said. Several students face disciplinary action and possible suspension for taking part. School spokeswoman Christina O’Reilly refused to release the name of the middle school administrator or the names of the students involved. Principal Rudy Moseley sent out an automated telephone message that Friday to the student’s parents telling them what happened.

Pichardo said that Latino talk radio was inundated with phone calls from members of the Dominican community who were upset over the incident. Latino students comprise 59 percent of the Providence school population.

“As Dominicans, we feel insulted,” said Lorenzo Acevedo, a Dominican man who heard of the incident on the radio. “We feel that we have been stepped on, like our flag.”

“It means they don’t want us here,” said Prisca Hernández.

“For someone to act like that, you don’t need words,” said Mara Pimentel, who is Puerto Rican. “That’s disrespectful to anybody.”

Jerry Hopper expressed similar outrage, adding the administrator should be fired.

“What kind of example are you setting for the kids?” Hopper asked.

Rather than offering guidance to the students, Hopper said, “It’s like you are killing their hopes and dreams.”

“This is the United States of America. It shouldn’t be happening.”

“In any country, if there is something that one respects, it is the flag, regardless of whose flag it is,” added Acevedo.

On Tuesday, Providence School Supt. Tom Brady sent an e-mail statement to Pichardo and members of the Latino news media who had inquired about the incident. Brady wrote that an administrator “displayed a lack of judgment and cultural insensitivity in his actions toward students who were demonstrating pride in their Dominican heritage.

“In video footage from the school’s security cameras, it does appear that the administrator may have engaged in disrespectful treatment of the Dominican flag,” Brady wrote. “The Providence public school district values the rich diversity and variety of cultural identities of its students, faculty and staff and such blatant disregard for the culture of another by any member of the Providence School Department community is never to be tolerated.”

The administrator, he said, has been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation. “We apologize to the students and their families for the apparent actions of this administrator,” Brady concluded, “and I pledge that appropriate personnel action will be taken.”

Yesterday, Pichardo said that he was pleased with Brady’s prompt response, but he asked Brady to hold a public meeting with Roger Williams students and parents to discuss racial sensitivity and asked the School Department to develop a policy regarding the observance of ethnic holidays. “At this point, I’m happy with their response,” Pichardo said. “But we will not tolerate this type of action toward anyone’s flag. It’s unacceptable.”


  1. xD i saw daht xD dheyy threw a fish sandwich at his head . xD shidd was madd funny xD

  2. yeah domican flagg!!!