Jackson Creek Middle School is receiving complaints after a letter sent home with black and biracial male students Jan. 20 informed parents of a segregated event the school had planned.
Principal David Pillar wrote in the letter that Roy K. Dobbs, the founder of a mentoring program called Young Men of Purpose and principal of Pike High School in Indianapolis, would be coming to JCMS Tuesday morning to have breakfast with students and kick off a series of mentoring events.
Pillar wrote he had been working on a program intended to help black and biracial male students at JCMS. Pillar said he had found the kind of the structure he envisioned for the school in Dobbs’ already-developed program.
“Our black males score lower on standardized tests than their peers and have discipline referrals at a higher rate than their peers,” Pillar said in the letter. “These facts cannot be denied and they must be proactively addressed to help support these young men achieve success. My vision for implementing YMP at JCMS is ... in line with helping these young men see what they can be with focus and support in the areas of Character, Citizenship, and Academics.”
Dobbs, who is black, did not create YMP for mentoring only men of color, and Pillar acknowledged his awareness of that fact in the letter.
“Although Roy created and has implemented YMP for all males, I want to pilot this program at JCMS with our black and bi-racial males,” he wrote.
Twenty-seven students fitting the racial description took the letter home.
McKenzie Goodrich said the letter was sent solely based on race because her nephew, a biracial straight-A student with perfect attendance, received one.
“He was like, ‘Why did I get this? I don’t understand. I have a straight-A record,’” Goodrich said. “(My sister) told him he didn’t need to worry about it because it didn’t apply to him.”
When Goodrich’s sister talked to her, however, she expressed concern the letter had been sent in the first place.
“She feels it is racist and signals out those with brown skin,” Goodrich said. “I think she’s right.”
The Indiana Daily Student reached out to Pillar, who declined to comment on the record. He did, however, issue an official apology on Tuesday afternoon in a letter addressed to “JCMS Parents and Friends.”
“I now understand that singling out students was misguided and offensive, and for that, I sincerely apologize,” Pillar said.