In The StigMa, Sherwyn Besson maps the role race plays in the continuing disenfranchisement of students of color, and White students that attend the Malville school system, where minority students are the dominant population. His work challenges, parents, educators, administrators, residents, policy makers, and other stakeholders, to engage a student-first, all-in philosophy to move the District forward.
Besson draws on his veteran experience in the classroom and community activist role to write a hopeful, informative, and unflinching narrative about the tyranny holding back the District’s progress, delving deeply into its racial struggles with integration through the 60s, and its newest challenge, an attack on enrichment learning, diversity, and morality.
“There was something about doing right that satisfied me. I had to live my teaching. So picking my battles was easy. I fought the one in front of me. Alvin was like a son. At that point, I decided to become a little boy’s hero, and, a little girl’s villain.”
Anatomy of a Cheating System
“Dr. Kroll admitted that department chair and teachers looked at the exam, used the knowledge of the exam and taught students on the material and yet referred to it as, “not a major incident”. For the role of catalyst in the cheating incident, Kroll’s punishment to a frontline offender, “a letter was placed in his permanent record.” He was later promoted. Cheating was incentivized.”
“Fetchit and Betty were involved in a verbal altercation with Middle School Principal McGill and High School Assistant Principal Musso. The conversation stayed professional until Fetchit asked McGill to cease his ‘cantankerous’ behavior. McGill then asked Fetchit, “Do you even know how to spell that word. You learned a new vocabulary word while having a cup of coffee with your wife and now you want to use it on me?” It was a critical moment in the exchange. On the brown side of the River, McGill was reputed as culturally insensitive with interpersonal skills that were wanting.”
Back to Me
“I noticed her at the local bank of all places. Lupita-dark. Almond-shaped eyes with attractively contrasting pools of brown and white. That smile, teeth, manner. Nah. Trouble. She must get a lot of attention, I thought. I didn’t need that. As I walked by I spied her tag. Ballard was her last name. I had friends with that last name. Eleventh Street. Barataria. Not possible, I thought but why not.”
SHERWYN BESSON is a Distributive Education instructor, community activist, and mentor. He grew up in Trinidad and has been a New York educator for eighteen years. He holds a Master of Science degree in Education from the College of Saint Rose, a Master of Science degree in Business Management from Polytechnic University of New York, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from St. Francis College. Besson lives in Nassau County, New York.