NAACP leader offers help to Monroe Schools in wake of students’ video depicting Floyd’s murder

Credit: Journal News

NAACP President speaks during Monroe school board meeting

Credit: Journal News

Organization’s comments will assist district in its next steps to address issues, school board president says.

The local leader of an NAACP chapter told Monroe school officials she appreciated their actions in the wake of two white students being punished for reenacting the murder of George Floyd in a social media video but would like to see more done.

Monday’s Monroe Board of Education meeting came after last week’s high-profile video incident led to the suspension of the two students who made and posted the now-deleted video.

The video, which showed a student’s foot upon the neck of a classmate lying on a floor, was posted the same week a white Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of murdering Floyd, a Black man, by kneeling on his neck.

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

School Board President David Grant read a statement at the beginning for Monroe’s meeting.

“As board president I want to express my disappointment at the actions of our students and the inappropriate video that was shared on social media,” he said. “We take this matter very seriously and discipline procedures are being implemented for the students involved. Monroe Schools strive to foster an inclusive educational environment where all individuals are treated with dignity.”

“We will continue to do the work necessary in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion. We are dedicated to starting this dialogue … to make sure we honor our commitment to maintain an inclusive school environment,” said Grant.

Middletown NAACP President Celeste Didlick-Davis told the board “we are concerned” beyond the single video incident and also “about some other implicit bias and systemic racism (and) incidents which have been brought to our attention over several years.”

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

But, said Didlick-Davis, “we are here to offer our assistance – we have cultural competency training.”

The Middletown NAACP chapter also covers the adjacent city of Monroe and other parts of Butler County.

“I have reached out to the superintendent about how we may be of assistance,” she told the board.

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

“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.

The NAACP is looking to help “in a positive way so that this community, as well as our larger communities, can move forward,” said Didlick-Davis, who was thanked by the board for her offer.

Grant said, “please know that we are listening and that your comments will assist us in taking the next steps as a district – and a board – to address these issues.”

Later Demers said of Didlick-Davis’ invite of help: “Our team appreciates the offer from the Rev. Dr. Davis to assist Monroe Local Schools in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

“We plan to meet with her soon to learn more about the training and resources available. Our team looks forward to working with our staff, students and parents to listen, learn, and uplift all voices in this dialogue,” said Demers.

Staff Photographer Nick Graham contributed to this story.