‘I’m not totally surprised’: NAACP leader says more needs to be done after Monroe students punished for Floyd murder video

Two Monroe School students have been disciplined, say Monroe school officials, after they posted a video re-enactment of the death of George Floyd on social media. Monroe Superintendent Kathy Demers sent a statement to school parents of the Butler County school system saying the district is investigating the incident. (File Photo\Journal-News)
Two Monroe School students have been disciplined, say Monroe school officials, after they posted a video re-enactment of the death of George Floyd on social media. Monroe Superintendent Kathy Demers sent a statement to school parents of the Butler County school system saying the district is investigating the incident. (File Photo\Journal-News)

The head of the Middletown NAACP told the Journal-News on Friday she plans to voice her concerns over two Monroe students posting a social media video of their re-enactment of George Floyd’s murder by a police officer.

The since-deleted video depicts what appears to be two white students acting out the circumstances of the African American’s death by a white Minneapolis police officer, who was found guilty of murder this week.

Monroe Superintendent Kathy Demers sent a notice to school parents Thursday stating: “When high school administrators became aware of the video, an investigation began immediately.”

Explore2 Monroe students punished after video re-enacting murder of George Floyd

“Although we cannot disclose what disciplinary actions are being taken, please know we will not tolerate these inappropriate behaviors and actions in our schools,” said Demers.

Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was recorded last year kneeling on Floyd’s neck during an arrest while he lay face down on a city street.

“The trial and verdict in the death of George Floyd have created a variety of emotions – anxiety, fear, and anger. As educators, it is our responsibility to support and empower students through these challenging times,” wrote Demers.

But more needs to be done, said Middletown NAACP President Celeste Didlick-Davis, who has a family member who is a student at the Monroe 3-12 school.

“I’m very disappointed but I’m not totally surprised,” said Didlick-Davis, who saw a screenshot of the video.

Didlick-Davis, whose NAACP chapter includesMiddletown and the adjacent Monroe community in Butler County, said she plans to speak at the Monroe Board of Education meeting Monday about the incident, which school officials said has led to the punishment of the two students.

“While this is technically an isolated incident, it really isn’t. There needs to be some additional cultural competency conversations” regarding racial sensitivity, she said.

The associate pastor of Middletown’s New Era Baptist Church said she believes “there have been other culturally insensitive issues in the district.”

When asked for documentation regarding those issues, she said due to the confidential nature of those accusations made to her by school parents, she must first receive their approval to discuss them publicly.

Didlick-Davis is also CEO of Middletown’s 3RDevelopment Inc., a faith-based organization working in Butler County “to empower individuals and families.”

“This (incident) forces someone to do something. We now need Monroe (Schools) to be proactive, starting with the staff to understanding how this happened,” she said.

“Yes, kids will be kids but this is significant. And yes they (students) are going to learn a lesson but where is the rest of the process?”

Demers also stated, “One of our core beliefs as a district is that caring relationships must be anchored in honesty, empathy and respect.”

“We commit to fostering an inclusive educational environment where each person, student, and staff, feels a sense of belonging and are treated with dignity regardless of skin color, gender, sexual identity or orientation, religion, ability or disability,” said Demers.

When asked about the status of the school district’s investigation into the incident, Demers told the Journal-News: “We do not have any further information to share at this time.”

Student privacy laws restrict public school districts from disclosing specific disciplinary information though some general, non-identifying details ― such as gender, grade and age ― can be shared publicly.

Monroe Schools were closed Friday due to a previously scheduled teachers’ professional training day.

The Monroe Board of Education’s next meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday at the district’s 3-12 school at 220 Yankee Road. The meeting will be held in the elementary school’s cafeteria, which has its entrance behind the school building.

Staff Writer Rick McCrabb contributed to this story.

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