All Articles Tagged "school"

8th Grader Pens Heartbreaking Letter About Racist Experiences In School

November 16th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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It’s hard to think that with all that’s going on in our world that our children sometimes face racist experiences in school, but they certainly do.

Honors student Za’Khari Waddy is also star of his football team at Tabb Middle School in Yorktown, VA. The 13-year old recently wrote a letter that’s making national headlines. “Yesterday on the football bus coming from our football game a kid started saying racist things to me. He then started saying he does not like blacks and he told me 200 years ago my ancestors hung from a tree and after he said that I should I hang from a tree” the heartbreaking letter read.

“That made me super mad, so in the locker room I told him not to call me n—-r or that I should be hung on a tree…I was really mad and they think I was going to fight him but I want someone to do something about it because I’m tired of boys messing with me because of my skin. I’m at my boiling point with this. Please do something about this because when I bring it to the office/principle you do nothing about it and I’m tired of the racism.”

 Za’Khari’s mother, Zettrona Powell, said the racism has been ongoing for the past three years. “He’s been asked if he was going to rape or rob a young lady, he’s been pushed into lockers and called the ‘N-Word’ on numerous occasions” she said. According to The Dailymail, Zettrona reported these instances to school officials to no avail.

The media has caught wind of the story, and now the school district has released a statement.

“The York County School Division believes every student is entitled to a safe and welcoming school environment free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Racism and bullying have no place in our schools and will not be tolerated. Students are given information and counseling on appropriate and acceptable behavior throughout the school year. Additionally, every staff member in the division is required to participate in annual anti-bullying training.”

“It’s not right to judge people on their skin color before you get to know them because you can miss out on how good that person is,” Za’Khari said in an interview with news outlet WTKR.

Has your child had racist experiences in school?

School Uniforms Debate? I Vote Yes

September 14th, 2015 - By MommyNoire Editor
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Everyone has an opinion on the school uniforms debate. Mothers, fathers, wacky childless Uncle Gerald with the hermit crab collection. Everyone. I am writing in defense of the school uniform. If you’re vehemently anti-uniform, hear me out before pelting me with rotten tomatoes. You might agree with my by the end of my mini diatribe.

Here are three reasons why I think school uniforms are the way to go:


Pick one. I hate to break it to you but they’re the same thing. Choosing a fresh outfit for myself every single day is a chore. I enjoy looking nice but prefer sleeping in. If I have to chose between the two please believe that fashion will always come in second. I’d like to believe that my lovely face distracts coworkers during the the handful of times I’ve worn my skirt backwards for half the workday.

So, it’s all good.

Throw a child or two or three into the mix and your mornings have become mayhem. You could obviously lay everything out the night before but guess what? That takes time too. Valuable time I, er I mean – you, could spend on your couch watching Real Housewives of Compton or whatever is hot these days.

Forget it. Everyone throws on a fresh polo shirt with a pair of khakis and races out the door. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Who has time for outfit coordination when your inbox hasn’t been cleaned since Sisqo was hot?

Just buy the uniforms and call it a day.

Avoid Distractions 

Clothes can become a major distraction in school as your children grow older. I was in honors and advanced placement classes but I failed calculus. You want to know why? I was showing too much knee.

Perhaps if I had spent less time channeling Dionne from Clueless and more time focusing on calculus I’d know how to…do percentages or something. You see how mathematically inept I am? Blame the lack of school uniform.

Don’t let this happen to your kids.

Adolescence is difficult enough for children. Help make their lives easier by leveling the superficial playing field. Everyone looks the same. Bam. One less thing to worry about.

Set the tone 

Kids go to school to learn. Period. It’s their job. School uniforms are to children what business suits or business casual are to adults. If one wants to be taken seriously in the workplace then one dresses accordingly. The same goes for school. The old cliche ‘dress for success’ rings true.

Of course, it is still possible to dress sloppily while adhering to a school uniform, but as a parent it is my responsibility to instill a good work ethic in my children and that includes ensuring that they put their best foot forward academically and professionally. Appearances matter. Take yourself seriously if you want others to do so as well.

Where do you stand? Are school uniforms a good thing?

5 Ways To Deal With A Mean Teacher

September 7th, 2015 - By MommyNoire Editor
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When my oldest son went to the fourth grade I entered the school year with the same optimism I have every year.  I hoped to join the PTA, build a cordial relationship with his teacher and most importantly support my boy in having the most educationally stimulating fourth grade experience possible.  And for the first two months that exactly what I did, but I sensed some tension between his teacher and me.

Trips to the school every other week for a progress and problem update and emails to ensure all homework was complete were not welcomed by his fourth grade teacher as they were in previous school years. It seemed like every time I attempted to build a positive teacher-parent relationship with Mr. Fourth Grade, I was brushed off or given the “what’s so special about your child” look.  So, by Christmas break I knew there was no chance of having a friendly relationship with this teacher.  This meant I needed to develop some strategies for dealing with a non-engaged, mean teacher.

  1. Strictly business: Other than good morning and good afternoon, I stopped exchanging niceties with my son’s teacher.  Before making my bi-weekly visit to the school I made a list of questions or concerns that I wanted addressed.  During our conversations I would no longer stray from that list to ask how the school year was going or how his Christmas break was.
  2. Make friends with the teacher next door:  If the teacher is truly anti-social, trust me, everyone knows already.  I’ve even had other teachers give me a rundown of the “good v. bad” teachers.  By forming a close relationship with another educator who teaches the same grade or a parent of another child in your kids class a parent can still keep their thumb on what’s going on in the classroom without further straining the relationship with the teacher.
  3. Absolutely no emails: When dealing with a teacher who doesn’t like you, or vice versa, the last thing you want is to send an email that is misconstrued in a negative manner.  Not only is it now written fodder for the playground of teachers at your kids school, but it also sets precedent for the teacher’s excuse to no longer deal with you.
  4. Get principal visibility: Unless the situation becomes unbearable with your kid’s mean teacher, I’d stay away from complaining to the principal. She has bigger fish to fry.  Before resorting to that,  I would make sure the principal and guidance counselors know your name.  Whether you show up to PTA with cookies the last Thursday of every month or offer to fill-in for the secretary’s lunch period occasionally, once the principal knows you are actively involved at school the teacher will have less validity to claims your presence at the school is useless.
  5. Maintain privacy: This is a biggie.  Never, I mean never, talk down or reprimand your child in front of a teacher who you are unsure has your child’s best interest at heart.  Teachers are people too, and can be manipulative.  While I truly believe most teachers are loving and want the best for all of their kids, some will use the divide and conquer strategy of pitting a parent against a kid.  Once a parent begins to equate their visits to the school with negative behavior from the child, a parent is more likely to keep their distance.  Teachers can use this to their advantage if they don’t want parents checking in on their class style.  Always handle behavior, homework or peer issues with your child at home.  Simply respond to the teacher: “We’ll work on that at home.”


C.C. Mendoza is an audio journalist with American Urban Radio Networks and blogs at

Back To School: 15 Ways to Break Up School Year Boredom

September 3rd, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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Remember all those years ago when you were in elementary school? The novelty of heading to a new grade wore off before the first round of tests in the first few months. Wake around 6:00 a.m. to be fed, dressed and hustled out the door by 7:00 a.m. School is work for kids, so why shouldn’t they enjoy a little break from the monotony of it all sometimes? It can be something as simple as adding some special one-on-one time to the schedule. Need a couple of ideas? Here are 15 ways to break up school year boredom and keep your kids feeling refreshed and motivated while they’re hitting the books.

Behavior Blues: What You Need To Know About Teen Suspension

September 1st, 2015 - By Allyson Leak
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It’s 9:00 a.m. and you just sat down at your desk to take the first sip of your hot coffee. Relaxed and ready to start the workday, you receive a call from your child’s school that you must come right away. Once you arrive you discover that they have been suspended… again. It’s important as a parent to understand the different kind of school suspensions so that you know how to handle the situation. The process differs per school and state, but generally goes something like this:

In-school suspension is when your child is taken out of her classes and put into a separate room where she does her work and has lunch for the entire day.

Out-of-school suspension is usually a number of days when your child is not allowed to go to school. And this one usually means they can’t go to any extracurricular activities or other school activities like a dance or sports game.

Expulsion is when they are removed from the school and not allowed to attend school or school-related activities for a long time period. This usually forces a parent to have to take off work because an expulsion involves having to go before the school board for a hearing.

Once an incident happens at school consider the following tips…


It’s important that you really listen to their side of the story and absorb what they are saying. Even if they were in the wrong it’s important for them to know that you want to hear their side and not just fuss and shut them down.

Know The School Rules

Most schools give every family a student handbook that list the rules for behavior and what happens if those rules are broken. This is a book that you should make the time to go through with your child. Make sure that when the principal tells you they are suspended, they are clear about what rule was broken and where it is in the handbook. If you feel like what they are saying isn’t justified and that your child wasn’t wrong you can contact your local department of education to find out what to do next.

Take Time To Process

It’s natural to panic when this happens and it’s ok to be mad but try not to lash out because it’s not very effective. Instead of spiraling out of control, take some deep breaths, step away, and try to relax. Then ask yourself “what lesson can they take away from this?”


It’s important for your child to learn that there are consequences for their actions. If they are suspended or expelled and have to stay home you should come up with a schedule for them. Maybe they can get up the same time they would on a school day, they can work on homework first and then chores. If they are home alone it’s unrealistic to think they won’t watch TV or try to find their video games so you may want to consider allowing them to do this once everything is done. Now, if they aren’t abiding by your rules of homework and chores you can go to the next step and have their cell phone turned off or put away their games so they don’t have access until they start cooperating.

What To Do When Your Kid Starts Learning About Sex At School

August 31st, 2015 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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Day 1

“Lea said that she saw a man on top of a woman, kissing her privates on TV.”

Excuse me?


Day 2

“Lea said a boy asked her to marry him and she said ‘no’ and then he got on top of her and started kissing her and she said ‘yes.’

Say what?


Day 3

“Lea said…”

“Stop talking to that girl!” you scream. “She’s making up stories!” It comes out harsher than you intend, but you don’t know what to do? Like, really, Pre-K is where your kid is supposed to learn about numbers and patterns, not SEX. But lately it seems that is the education she’s getting, and from another preschooler no less.

What do you do when your kid is learning about sex at school?

It ain’t right.

This little girl (who you’re already familiar with because early in the school year your daughter came home asking to watch Scandal because it’s apparently Lea’s favorite show), is undoing all the work you and your husband have done to keep inappropriate images out of your daughter’s sight. Your girl’s not even allowed to watch Barbie Life In The Dream House because Barbie’s got a boyfriend and spends her time shopping, hanging by the pool, and trying to emulate the Kardashian lifestyle. Music videos don’t exist in your home, which means she knows rapper Nicki Minaj more from some hair ads in your neighborhood than her music. But now the system has been corrupt and you’re screaming, ‘Mayday!’

You only see two options, have the sex talk with your kid way before you intended or let her learn about the birds and the bees through her buddy at school.

You talk to your friend Quiana about it because she has a daughter in Pre-K, and though she hasn’t experienced this, she has had situations where her daughter picked up on news stories before she and her husband were able to come up with an age-appropriate response. Boy, can you relate.

Being so caught off-guard on this caused you to lash out at her little friend Lea and something tells you that it wasn’t an appropriate response. Honestly, though, when your cub is being threatened you’re gonna make sure she gets away from the fire. But when you think about it, how realistic is it that your daughter will be able to stop talking to this friend? In fact, she’ll probably want to talk to her even more because we do what we’re told not to do, right?

So what’s the answer?

Oh, just call Dr. Carothers already! She’s gotten you out of more parenting jams than a traffic cop. She’ll help figure this out.

“While it’s totally normal not to want to have the birds and bees conversation with your four or five-year-old, it’s never too early to start talking about things that they may be exposed to whether it be on TV or from friends. There’s lots of content in the media that’s highly-sexualized that kids can see inadvertently, and it’s natural for them to have questions. They often talk about what they’ve seen as a way to explore what it means and as a way to get additional information. One thing I would do is explain that there are some things that are for adults who really care about each other, and as you get older you’ll learn more about those things, but what the girl probably saw is sex or making love.”

“You want to use the language that the child has given you, and you want to give as much truthful information back as possible,” explains the doctor. “You don’t want to say the girl is lying or make it so she’s an untrustworthy friend.”

Too late.

Dr. Carothers goes on to say: “So you tell your daughter that what her friend Lea is talking about is a natural part of life, but at this age it isn’t something that she has to worry about. It may be a good time to have a conversation with the Pre-K teacher to let’em know that some kids have been exposed to this type of content so she can have a general conversation about parents being more cognizant of what they’re kids are seeing. That will definitely happen.”

“One thing to remember as you’re raising your child is they’re going to get this information from somewhere so you want to be able to funnel it and have the first say. It’s better to get ahead of it and be proactive than reactive.”

But where do you start?

“There are some children’s books that do a really good job of giving developmentally appropriate information about things related to nature, sex and reproduction,” says Dr. Carothers. Read a few books to find which you’re most comfortable with and that way you’ll have a consistent message you can give to your kids. Common Sense Media is a website that can help you see what type of content is appropriate for your kid.”

Man, you didn’t handle this well, but that’s why you reached out to the good Dr. You can’t know what you don’t know. More than anything, you’re seeing that there’s a positive way to move forward with this, and no, your daughter won’t be turning to prostitution because Lea talked to her about sex.

The more casual you can be around sex as a conversation, the less she’ll see it as a cause for alarm. One thing you do regret is how you demonized the other little girl. She doesn’t know what she’s seeing and probably just wanted someone to talk to about it. You didn’t have to drag someone else’s kid down to save your own. Next time, you’ll see if there’s a way to stand for both of them. That’s the true meaning of ‘it takes a village.’

Erickka Sy Savané is a freelance writer and creator of THE BREW, a social commentary blog. Before that she was a model/actress/MTV VJ. She lives in Jersey City with her husband and two daughters. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Cool Mom Alert: The UnBake Sale Is The New And Healthy Way To Do Fundraising At Schools

August 20th, 2015 - By T Hall
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Let’s be real. When it comes to schools raising funds, bake sales are still winning. Because funding is not as plentiful as it could be, using bake sales as a way to make extra money is the go-to option for most schools. Athletic teams, debate clubs, and the Parent-Teacher Association use bake sales to come up with extra funds for a variety of school-based needs. But given the newest changes to the federal guidelines when it comes to food served at schools, the menus at many have changed. There are fewer calories and sweets being served and more healthy food options available.
While bake sales are usually made up of home-cooked and baked goods for purchase, the items are generally still full of sugar and salt. Cupcakes and brownies are a favorite but no matter how you dress them up, they are still high in sugar and calories. To help schools stick with the new food guidelines in schools, Bolthouse Farms came up with a great idea for fundraising. They introduced the UnBake Sale, the healthy alternative to a traditional bake sale. The UnBake Sale starter kit consists of items made of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy things that can be tweaked into really cool snacks for people to purchase.
From fruit salad to apple and grape panda bears to watermelon pizza, the possibilities for an UnBake Sale menu are almost endless. Taking fresh fruits and vegetables and turning them into cool edible creations is key when trying to make an UnBake Sale pop. And parents are excited to have healthier snacks being served at school. Bringing something like the UnBake Sale into institutions as a fundraising option is the perfect way to help promote healthy eating. Imagine how easy it could be to sell fruits and vegetables disguised as yummy fruit bugs and dinosaurs. Kids don’t miss a trick, but the UnBake Sale is a great way to”trick” them into making healthy choices when it comes to snacking.
unbake sale
Making the transition away from cookies and cupcakes may seem like a difficult task but it’s really pretty simple. Not only is it easy but some of the products are cheaper to purchase and prepare. With the help of local farmer’s markets, products are more readily available for purchase to help make this happen. When the campaign first kicked off, Bolthouse Farms offered the first 100 schools to sign up the UnBake Sale starter kit to help them get started. The UnBake Sale website is chock full of helpful tips and delicious recipes that will assist you in making the UnBake Sale a successful event at your child’s school.
Schools all over the country are making the switch from bake sales to UnBake Sales to participate in the healthy food initiative. Ultimately, healthy eating starts at home, but the UnBake Sale is a sure way to make it look cool at school. This is an excellent way to transition away from the unhealthy and steer children in a healthier diet direction.
Check out The UnBake Sale for the UnBake Sale toolkit, recipes, and ideas on how to get an UnBake sale started at your school.

Non-Boring Ways To Help Your Child Transition Back To School

August 19th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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By now your little one should be hip to the fact that school is calling their name. Sooner than later, they will need to make their academic debut. Hopefully the transition from late summer nights to homework can be a smooth one. After all, there’s always one child that doesn’t go nicely.

Should you find yourself between a rock and a hard-headed student, here are some non-boring tips to help your child transition back to school.

Excite them with shopping. Even if your kids are little, they can still appreciate a trip to Target or the mall. Make back-to-school shopping more fun and less of a hassle to find an endless amount of supplies.

Talk up their grade. “Oh you’re going to be a first-grader? You’re getting so big!” As corny as it might sound, some kids will puff out their chest at the idea of moving up a grade. Hey, if it helps them to feel special, why not?

Host an end-of-summer bash. This of course is optional but something for the entire family. Call up your child’s friends and invite your own over to toast summer (make sure the kids have juice and not a cocktail). Have a cookout, camp in your backyard, host a movie night, or let the little ones have one last sleepover before school starts. The more creative you are, the more full you’ll have.

Create an activities calendar. Just because summer is coming to an end doesn’t mean there won’t be any opportunities for fun during the school year. Create a central activities calendar (it’s great if you can use an erasable one) where you can highlight important days off, field trips, after school activities and family adventures you plan to take.

Style up a homework station. Now is the time to show off your crafting prowess as you renovate your child’s room or an area in your home. All students need a space to do homework, so why not make a fun station that includes eye-popping colors (they’ll need something to keep them awake) and stylish supplies?

If all else fails, you can bribe them with something you know they want, but that of course should be the very last resort. In all honesty, the back-to-school season doesn’t have to be horrible. Sure waking up earlier than necessary is a pain, but think of all the friendships they’ll build and cool things they’ll hopefully learn. Hopefully these ideas will get your student excited for what’s to come.

Helping Your Child Adjust To Boarding School

August 13th, 2015 - By Allyson Leak
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Boarding school is not for every parent (or child) but if you happen to be a parent that does find value in the concept, then knowing how to adjust is essential. Many professionals call boarding school a “planned separation.” A boarding school lifestyle is similar to college life in a way. Your child will have to do their own laundry, chores, develop good time management, get used to a roommate and dorm rules. But these rules and new way of life may help them become organized, focused, and motivated later in life.

Being homesick is pretty much inevitable at least for the first few weeks or months, but here are some things that might help them get into a rhythm and become comfortable.

The Comfort Pack
Every kid has their favorite snack or DVD so try and get into a routine of sending one on a routine basis. It could be once a week, once a month or every few months but the key is consistency because your child will have something special from you to look forward to.

While you want your child to develop an independent lifestyle and learn more about themselves, you also want to maintain good communication and to let them know they are loved. If you know that calling on a daily basis might make them want to come home then establish days that you will definitely talk and catch up. You could even suggest that you send a Sunday email too that includes things that are going on with the family or funny things that happened that week. Make sure that they know they can share any information with you no matter how good or bad.

Problem Solving
Problem solving is an essential life skill and the worst thing you can do is be a helicopter parent when your child is away at boarding school. Of course you care, but try and allow your child to problem solve some things on their own. When they call you for advice before you give it, ask them to come up with two or three ways that they think it should be handled and tell them you will call them back in half an hour to discuss it. This way, you can still give your advice on the second call but at least it gets them thinking for themselves.

New Friends
Try not to worry too much about your child making new friends because the professionals at boarding school are used to it and probably have ways of encouraging new relationships. You can suggest that they join sports or other groups where they may meet people. Or, if the school will allow it, have them start their own group on a certain topic they love like photography, painting or a book club etc. You can even ask them if they want to invite new friends home for some holidays.


If you visit every weekend it may defeat the purpose of this new independent lifestyle that you are trying to promote. Most boarding schools have dedicated times like fall parents weekend where they will have planned things for you guys to do. But in between the planned times visiting once every few months is a great way to spend that needed one on one parent time. Because you don’t see each other on a regular basis, when you do visit, make sure you try and really connect.


It Happened To Me: My Daughter’s Teacher Did Her Hair

July 23rd, 2015 - By Rich
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A few month’s ago, a photo was circulating on the internet of a little girl, who had just gotten her hair done by her teacher. To no one’s surprise this garnered reactions on both ends of the spectrum from the cyber world. As a mother, I was torn in my opinion of the situation, with no reason to think it could ever happen to me. As I read through the responses of Facebook friends, and their friends I thought, If I was a teacher, and a student came into class with her hair matted and linted, yes I would probably take it upon myself to spruce her up. However, in regards to my daughter this was not the case. Last Thursday, after a fresh hair wash, and slightly running behind I decided against my better judgment to let my daughter go to school with a headband and her curls out. BIG MISTAKE.

Thursday afternoon, like every day I went to pick up my daughter from her schools playground. As she ran toward me, all I could do was mouth to myself, “wtf?.” Seeing my reaction her teacher scurred behind her, quickly offering an exonerating explanation as to why my daughter didn’t look the way she did only a few hours earlier. “I did her hair, I hope you don’t mind?! She said she was hot.” I was furious. My blood was boiling, and there were no nice words I could find. I offered a limp smile, and could barely utter, “it’s fine.” I was fuming. My daughter’s hair had been brushed, with whose brush? I couldn’t tell you, parted, and braided in plaits, and embellished with rubber bands and barrettes, out of the teachers own supply.

After about 30 minutes to an hour, I called the school and spoke with the director and asked that Lyric’s hair not be touched by anyone, at all, for any reason. She assured me she would talk to the teachers, but I could tell she really didn’t care. For days I debated with my cousin, a former daycare teacher about the violation, boundary infringement, and the subliminal message being taught to my daughter. My cousin argued the teacher had no ill intentions toward my child, and that she thought she was doing a good thing. She assured me her actions meant that Lyric was a favorite in the school, and now that I have made this an issue they will probably treat her differently now.

While I’m 100 percent sure the teacher had no ill intentions when she decided to do my childs hair, but more so just wanted to get her hands in some Black hair. Against my better judgment, I assumed the unspoken rule about not touching Black hair was well known. Needless to say, no matter what the circumstances may be, no matter how tired I am, that hair gets braided down daily! I refuse to allow my child to be mislead into believing her beauty, and worth are defined by what pleases the pale faces of the world. I am a patron of the facility not for beauty treatments, but to first educate, and second care for my child. Unfortunately, I have stigmatized myself as “that mom”, and prayerfully my daughter doesn’t suffer of any ill treatment because of this.

Would I feel as strongly about this situation had her teacher been Black, and decided to do her hair? Nope, because to me that would of been a sister looking out, a homegirl hook up because of the unspoken understanding all Black people share. Is that biased, ignorant, racist? Call it what you want, but because of the history of the Black body, in relation to White people, (ownership, and exhibition) I will never be ok with White hands in my childs hair.

What would you do if your daughter’s teacher did her hair?

Have you had a tricky situation that needed to be addressed at your child’s school? How did you handle it?