Sunday, May 21, 2017

Students Protest New Orleans Center for Creative Arts High School (NOCCA)

Friday, May 19, in the early afternoon NOCCA leadership used security to remove three young black men, their parents, and advocates from the campus. The school refused the right to graduate two young black boys after giving them an additional 1,790 online assignments to complete only hours before the graduation ceremony. 

The school then failed to provide the young men access to this unreasonably large work packet in time for them to complete it. The school finally barred the students from attending their graduation ceremony, citing these incomplete assignments. NOCCA also attempted to "counsel out" (force to transfer) another young black men, who was recently accepted to University of California Berkeley, and had completed all of his course work.

When he requested a hearing to discuss the options, he and his advocates were also forcibly removed from NOCCA’s campus and he was barred from attending his school's graduation ceremony.

NOCCA has admitted to having problems retaining young black men in their academic program. This is largely due to failing to provide culturally relevant support and appropriate accommodations for students with trauma and divergent learning styles, as well as blatantly racist policies. At least five other black boys and one black girl have been "counselled out" this year. Parents are often told that the school is "not a good fit for them.” It leads one to believe that NOCCA is not a good fit for black children.

Following are the demands being voiced by the black students, parents, and advocates:

1. An apology letter to the young black students and their families for undue stress and trauma.
2. An apology to the class of 2017 for disrupting their graduation ceremony and causing them pain. Many of these young men classmates were hurt by the school’s treatment of the young black boys.
3. That the young men are allowed to participate in the Arts Master Celebration on Monday.
4. That the school get Undoing Racism, School to Prison Pipeline, and Culturally Relevant Education training for all faculty, staff, and board members. 

Organizers are also asking that concerned community members join in the ongoing fight for education justice in this city's school system, which is itself a powerful symbol of white supremacy that must also be TAKEN DOWN and replaced with a liberatory system of community controlled PUBLIC schools!

For more information please contact:

Ashana Bigard

Roshsaana Ison

Gina Womack

#BMR support young black men
#FFLIC NOLA EDU on trial