This letter was sent to The Aegis Open Forum:
I am writing to you today with a broken heart on behalf of my granddaughter, Gloria Simmons, who is just one year old and already tainted by the evil brush wielded by racists at Bel Air High School.
My daughter and son-in-law moved to Bel Air just after their baby was born because they were worried about racism in Baltimore City and the kinds of educational conditions in which their precious child would be raised.
As a doting grandmother and a retiree of Harford County Public Schools, I practically begged my daughter to move up here so that my granddaughter would have the best opportunities available.
How embarrassed and ashamed I am today when I see the article about the young people at Bel Air High School who photographed themselves with a racial slur across their chests? How ashamed I am that I asked my daughter to move out of Baltimore City and to come up here where I thought people were loving and kind and I thought the school system would be receptive to my beautiful biracial granddaughter. How sad I am to think that she is in the Bel Air district now and will be coming to Bel Air High School, where people are allowed to demonstrate such racist sentiments.
I assume the followup to this story will be that the students involved got a just punishment. Believe me, I taught in the school system long enough to know that the "just" punishment will be a slap on the wrist and nothing that would actually curtail that kind of behavior in the future.
If anything a few days suspension will simply reinforce the perception of our school's ineptitude and give those students more ammunition and more reason to incite hate in our schools.
It is my opinion that there is no place for students like them in the general population. That is why we have alternative education for students that cannot function in the general educational climate.
I would also like to add that that picture was taken in a school classroom. How did those students get access to that classroom with no adult supervision? I hope these issues can be resolved before my granddaughter is old enough to have to suffer the indignation that other African American and biracial students are suffering at Bel Air High School today.