Our Future Matters Rally | Opinion | Alex Kearney
Albion, MI – February 28th, 2021 Albion Standing organized a Rally to discuss post-Albion Michigan Students Annexation to Marshall Michigan School District. The discussion regarding the merger spoke about the lack of inclusion and the racism some students have experienced while attending school in Marshall.
Years later, the struggle still exists to integrate Albion Children and Marshall Children into one building, one classroom. It does not help that some Marshall Staff and Residents appear to mentally segregate the two communities’ students by labeling “Albion Students” and “Marshall Students.” This does not unify the Student body; it is a known fact children will mimic adults.
The Albion Annexation to Marshall had been troubled since the beginning of 2016. In December of 2017, Michigan Radio produced an Article titled “UN/DIVIDED: The growing pains of annexation in Albion and Marshall.” April Van Buren and Emma Winowiecki wrote, ” Now, middle and high school students get bussed into Marshall, a white-majority and middle-class town. But how are Albion students adjusting, and what leads to Albion Public Schools’ demise in the first place? Can Marshall overcome the difficulties of teaching at-risk students?”
Michigan Radio’s article focused too much on the racial and socio-economic differences between Albion and Marshall students; it pushed the idea that all Albion students are “at-risk.” This is an overgeneralization. The article may have meant well. Still, it really exemplifies the saying, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Marshall is not adapting well, and Albion’s children are suffering from it. One mother took pictures of the different lunches served to the two areas. One Lunch looks like a Lunch Michelle Obama would serve; the other is sugar-laden and lacks the nutrition that a growing child’s brain requires.
Albion students are reporting the lack of inclusion is resulting in unfair school suspension and that students of the middle-class caucasian persuasion are not being held accountable for their racist rhetoric and actions. White students’ racial intimidation that would get an adult arrested is being tolerated while the responding Black student is suspended for standing up for themself.
Substitute teachers are allowing discriminatory videos and photos to be presented in the classroom. Children get to read the word “Nigger” written on their lockers. Trump flags, the new sign of Nazism and White Power, are worn like Superman Capes through the halls on non-ethnic students’ backs.
The lack of a stable learning environment is detrimental to the students being subjected to bigots’ ideology. It does not create a safe learning environment, a welcoming learning environment if one can learn in that kind of unstable learning environment has been studied by Psychologists and Sociologists. The research provided states it has life-lasting negative effects on the person; it has also been studied that children as young as seven years old can understand when they are experiencing discrimination.
The Rally was uplifting, informative, and hopeful, which is the resilient spirit of Albion Michigan Residents; we will get through this, and we will come out better, and if all else fails, we can take our children, go home and stop financially supporting a school district that enables intolerance.