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News :: Education : Gender : Human Rights : Labor : Media : Organizing : Politics : Race : Social Welfare
Schools guilty of racist child abuse
18 Feb 2006
According to Berthena Dorinvil, mother of the 6-year-old boy, the school officials’ conduct in this case, from the white teacher who initiated the complaint to the principal all the way to the superintendent of schools, has caused untold pain and suffering to her son and her family.
BROCKTON, MASS.
Schools guilty of racist child abuse
By Stevan Kirschbaum
Boston
Published Feb 17, 2006 11:01 PM

Brockton, Mass., a working-class suburb south of Boston, was the scene this February of a most vile case of racist child abuse and anti-immigrant harassment. On Jan. 30, Brockton Public Schools officials suspended a Haitian first grader from Joseph H. Downey Elementary School for the outrageous charge of “sexual harassment.”

According to Berthena Dorinvil, mother of the 6-year-old boy, the school officials’ conduct in this case, from the white teacher who initiated the complaint to the principal all the way to the superintendent of schools, has caused untold pain and suffering to her son and her family.

The Dorinvil child was playing with his classmates when a white female child touched him. He responded by touching the back of her shirt. When the girl complained to the teacher, the teacher accused the Dorinvil child of “sexual harassment” and proceeded to “punish” him. He was isolated in a corner and told him he must look down and not make eye contact with the other students.

The teacher refused to allow the child to eat lunch with the other children and made him put his head down on his desk in the classroom while the other children were at lunch. With a number of teachers present, the little girl’s mother was allowed to yell at the boy and threaten him until he was in tears. Unlike the Dorinvils, the girl’s mother had been called immediately,

At this point white adult administrators subjected the boy to repeated “questioning,” which included scolding and other frightening and abusive behavior. He was coerced into signing a statement without his parents present, or any advocate or lawyer. At the close of this racist frame-up “internal investigation,” the Brockton School District gave the child a three-day suspension and immediately called the Ply mouth District Attorney and School Police.

Up until this point BPS failed to contact the Dorinvil family. When Berthena Dorinvil arrived, she found her son totally traumatized and sobbing uncontrollably.

Berthena and her husband Phillip Dorin vil, a Boston School Bus Driver USWA 8751 union member, immediately launch ed a campaign to defend their son and fight this cruel injustice. The Dorinvils had the support of USWA 8751 and leaders of the Boston Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee, including Boston City Coun cilor Chuck Turner, the Womens Fight back Network, and Bishop Filipe C. Teixeira, OFSJC, Diocese of St. Francis of Assisi, Catholic Church of the Americas and an anti-racist organizer from Brock ton. Together these forces have established a Committee for Justice for the Dorinvil Family. People’s lawyer John Pavlos represents the family legally.

The family demanded that their son be transferred to another elementary school, away from the racist Downey School Administration. At first the BPS administration refused and issued statements attemp ting to justify its officials’ outrageous actions against the Dorinvil child. Cynthia E. McNally, the District spokeswoman stated, “This was done by the book. This was thoroughly investigated.”

The local and national media has engaged in sensationalist frenzy. The Bos ton Herald’s front-page coverage showed photos of the family with the headline “Boy, 6, hit with sex harass rap.” Report ers continue to virtually stalk the family.

On Feb. 9, as a result of an avalanche of national and local protest against this racist child abuse, BPS School Super intendent Buzz Nembirkow released a statement in which he said that the system made a private apology to the boy and his family. He granted the transfer request and promised to change the BPS sexual harassment policy.

Tip of racist iceberg

“This is an example of widespread racism in the Brockton Public Schools. It reveals one of many stories that minority communities in Brockton are telling us. No matter how much Brockton tries to deny it, this type of behavior exists in all its institutions,” said Bishop Teixeira.

According to Rachel Nasca of the Women’s Fightback Network and the Rosa Parks Committee, “This case is only the most recent in a long and ugly history of the state’s racist use of sex charges. It brings to mind the notorious North Carolina ‘kissing case’of 1958, where two African-Ameri can children, aged 7 and 9, spent time in prison for allegedly kissing a white girl they were playing with. It took a long strug gle led by Black liberation fighter Robert F. Williams to win the boys’ freedom.”

There is a deep history of racism in Brock ton schools-on a broad range of issues including desegregation, curriculum, disparate treatment in discipline, achievement gap, access to resources, etc. Berthena Dorinvil has stated that other families who have suffered from racism in BPS have contacted her.

The Dorinvil Family and their supporters have stated that they will continue the fight for justice in this case. They are demanding:

1. A full, fair and independent investigation led by the family, the African-American, Haitian, Cape Verdean, and Latin@ Com mun ities of Brockton, including educational, child-advocate, legal and school policy experts.

2. Concrete and serious action to be taken against all those responsible, at every level for the racist child abuse.

3. Full and fair restitution and compensation to the Dorinvil family for extreme hardships suffered, including possible treatment for their traumatized son.

At the planning meeting, Berthena Dorinvil said, “I am fighting not only for my son but to assure that no other mother will have to suffer what I have suffered.”

This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: ww (at) workers.org
Subscribe wwnews-subscribe (at) workersworld.net
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See also:
http://www.workers.org/
http://www.workers.org/2006/us/brockton-0223/

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Comments

Re: Schools guilty of racist child abuse
18 Feb 2006
Funny as shit dude. Kirschbaum lashes out at the "white" community in an article by Workers World and cites Women's Fightback Network. There's massive credibility for ya.

(So why DO you repost all this communist crap here under pseudonym? Do you actually like reading the stuff of what?)
Re: Schools guilty of racist child abuse
19 Feb 2006
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftan o' the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
His knife see Rustic-labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!
Then, horn for horn they stretch an' strive,
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit hums.
Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scronful' view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs, an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thrissle.
Ye Pow's wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae shinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if you wish her gratefu' pray'r,
Gie her a Haggis!
Re: Schools guilty of racist child abuse
21 Feb 2006
How is this racist? Granted the whole matter should have been settled with at most, parents being called. This case isn't "racist", what it is, is the Brockton School Dept. "covering their asses" because of the crazy, PC world that the far left has tried to create. The boy's mother who was on the local news trying to bring up the isssue of race is looking for one thing...Money !... And yeah, her kid probably knows something about sex.
The school officials did what they had to do to keep the girl's parents from sueing. Thank God for the "PC World.