The Jefferson Parish School Board has been under fire recently: civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center filed a complaint alleging that the school system "sends a disproportionate number of black and disabled students to alternative schools to languish for months." Now the group is targeting Jefferson Parish for employing a school psychologist who has posted a slew of racially charged comments online.
Mark Traina works with the same alternative schools to which so many black and disabled students have been relegated. On his Twitter account, Traina says his interests are "politics, the economy, reading and expressing [his] opinion." But his opinions are especially problematic given the fact that he's one of the people responsible for placing students in alternative schools.
His comments on the Trayvon Martin case are about what you'd expect: "Zimmerman was the real victim and he held his ground!" and "Zimmerman was attacked and he simply defended himself."
But it's some of his earlier tweets that may prove the most damaging. In January, he went on a tirade against "young black thugs." Some of the highlights include "ANOTHER YOUNG BLACK MALE THUG-NEEDS TO DIE-I PRAY THAT THE VICTIMS FRIENDS GET TO HIM 1ST. SO THE POLICE WON'T HAVE TO KILL HIM," "We are faced with a young Black Army of Thugs who have declared War on the American Way of Life-Holding America Hostage as we speak," and "Young Black Thugs who won't follow the law need to be put down not incarcerated. Put down like the Dogs they are!"
According to another tweet, "Mark a. Traina is an American Civil Rights Activist who unlike Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton represents all Americans." Perhaps we're simply misreading this civil rights activist's intentions?
Traina has responded to the allegations in comment threads on NOLA.com.
This is just another way to harass the Jefferson Parish Public School System. One only needs to read the Times Picayune to see who the real trouble makers are. Sadly, it is disproportionately young black males. Everyone knows that our jails throughout the United States are disproportionately filled with black people. Why would the rate be any different in an educational environment?
In the rallying cry of racists everywhere, Traina added, "Everything I said is fact-based, backed up by data. I don't have a prejudiced bone in my body. I'm not a racist. I'm a realist."
School superintendent James Meza said that he learned about the Traina complaint today, and that they will begin an investigation. In response to the Southern Poverty Law Center's repeated allegations, the U.S. Department of Education's office of civil rights will be sending representatives to the Jefferson Parish school system this week.
[Image via Twitter]