I Wouldn’t Take That Shit

Jose 1 Comment

What Now, Sucker?

Back in my 8th grade social studies class, our teacher Mr. McIntyre used to always say, “Well, it’s much better to be pissed off than pissed on.” I laughed. No way in hell did I want to be pissed on, and the image made me gag harder than I did over watching hours upon hours of Real Housewives with Basketball Intentions or whatever over-privileged clan of women I’m seeing with my fiancee. I’d much rather get really angry because chances are, that’ll go away much more readily than the scent of human remains on my person.

He just never answered what happens when you’re both pissed off and pissed on.

Such is the case with the Science Skills Center High School in Brooklyn, NY, where only the nurse’s office had an open bathroom for the student. For those unfamiliar with the architecture of NYC urban high schools, they’re humungous with no lack for toilets. The school building this particular high school occupies has (at least) 6 functioning stories. Rudimentary amongst students needs are clean bathrooms that are easily accessible and available for them. I understand this is quite obvious for those of us with even half a conscience. Based on the signatures of more than 200 students on a petition for more bathrooms, that’s obviously not on their consciousness either.

What’s more, the administrator is Black. Whoa boy. One might think that having said administrator might make the person more proactive with dealing with such an issue, or at least bring transparency for all parties involved. However, it seems quite the opposite. The school reports that the school had to cut the school aide who used to supervise the bathrooms, so they couldn’t keep those bathrooms open. While plausible because of the recent issues they had been having with boys fighting in the bathrooms, it should prevent the majority from using a facility that’s perfectly functioning.

I didn’t want to have to say it, but it also reminds me that overseers come in all shapes and sizes. Rather than hire principals to do the work of the people, bosses force them to do a certain type of work that maintains the status quo while deflecting any thoughts about racism, sexism, or classism. Further, administrators get easily get replaced by the next one to continue the work, streamlining the disenfranchisement of our students for generation upon generation. (Some, like Dr. Steve Perry, will readily throw their own people under the bus just so they look tough in front of their high-ranking friends, but that’s another story.)

Students already feel a certain way when they’re consistently ostracized, underfunded, overtested, underserved, overinvestigated, undermined, and misunderstood. Now, their school building won’t even let them use the bathroom. Sure they didn’t care much before, but now they certainly don’t give a shit. I wouldn’t either.

Mr. Vilson, who said it …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Jose VilsonI Wouldn’t Take That Shit

Comments 1

  1. msladydeborah

    I am a mid western born and bred person. When I read about some of the conditions in NYC schools, I often find myself shaking my head. It is difficult for me to imagine that people within the community do not rise up in arms over the way that the students are treated. There have been conditions that you have described and I have read elsewhere that really make my nerves bristle up because it is not the way that education is supposed to work.

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