VIDEO : “Our worst enemy is the young ladies. I don’t know what they’re drinking today, but they’re bad.” So said Jersey City Schools Superintendent Charles Epps Jr. And it has stirred the passions of one woman, in particular, who isn’t about to stand for it.
Trena Hinton holds photo of beaten daughter: “When I turned her over to you, look how you sent her back to me.”
“When I was a kid comin’ up, for all the kids who are less fortunate, school was the place they went to,” Trena Hinton told the Board of Education at a public meeting earlier this month.
“But if that’s our attitude toward our kids, then something’s wrong with our school system.”
The schools chief has tried to back-pedal the past two weeks, saying he was speaking metaphorically — although that doesn’t make any logical sense, seeing as how he never used a metaphor in his comments (look up “metaphor,” Dr. E.).
“The comments were rude, sexist, judgmental and completely unprofessional,” a 16-year-old city girl wrote in a letter published by The Jersey Journal .
A Facebook page, “Jersey City Girls Talk Back,” has emerged, with protests and comments about the good work city students do. Of course, candidates in Wednesday’s School Board election shamelessly tried to capitalize with “elect me” posts — with one of them even pledging, if elected, to have Epps removed. Someone else even tried to blame the Journal , saying Epps was most likely misquoted.
Then there’s Antionette Johnson-Mitchell.
“The numbers don’t lie. Young ladies are out of control. We should look at the bigger picture here,” Johnson-Mitchell wrote on the “JCGTB” Facebook page.
“Perhaps if all of you who [are] outraged put your heads together and work towards some solutions instead of trying to attack the messenger[,] the real problem can began to resolve,” added Johnson-Mitchell, describing herself as a “little black girl who actually went to JC public schools and who has witnessed first hand the violent and detrimental change over the past 15 years of the young girls in JC.”
Hinton, 41, could have flashed her bona fides: She works for the city’s Community and Supportive Services Deparatment, helping people who are displaced find homes or make the transition from larger to smaller public housing. Instead, she showed school board members a photo of her daughter taken a few years ago: It showed a beautiful young girl.
“I taught her to be a young woman of integrity. Never been in trouble…. [Teachers] all tell me how wonderful she is,” Hinton said, during a brief address recorded and posted on YouTube:
The teen was accepted to St. Dominic’s Academy, but Hinton said she sent her to Lincoln, a public school.
She then held up a recent photo of the girl with a tooth knocked out. The March 17 assault happened in a Lincoln School classroom. The male classmate who hit her also broke her nose.
Less than a month later, Epps made his infamous comment.
When she asked school officials about the incident, Hinton said, she was told the boy probably liked her daughter.
“You show me when 15-year-olds start breaking noses and knocking teeth out to show they like a little girl,” she told the School Board. “You’ve got to be kidding me that an administrator would let that slip from their mouth.”
“She’s now failing. Why?” Hinton asked. “Because she told me, ‘Ma, it’s not cool to be smart.’ What are we teaching in our schools that the kids are so fearful, they don’t want to progress? They digress.
“When I turned her over to you, look how you sent her back to me…. What happened to ‘It takes a village to raise a child?’ “
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