When Jada Williams, a 13-year-old student at Rochester's School No. 3, wrote an essay making comparisons between a slavemaster discouraging Fredrick Douglas from learning to read and modern education struggles in her district, the teen didn't expect a wave of controversy -- but she ended up switching schools because of it, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports.
“When I find myself sitting in a crowded classroom where no real instruction is taking place I can say history does repeat itself,” Jada wrote in her essay, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. “I feel like not much has changed. Just different people. Different era. The same old discrimination still resides in the hearts of the white man.”
Williams said she began to feel singled out by teachers after turning the essay in to her English class, earning "Ds" -- a change from her previous "As. She also said the school's treatment of her changed in general, the Rochester City Newspaper reports.
"I love to go to school and I feel like they're taking that away from me," Williams told the paper while fighting back tears.
Her parents transfered her to School No. 19, but after witnessing several fights in the first few days of her attendance, Williams told the City Newspaper she doesn't feel comfortable there either.
Friday afternoon, Williams and her parents got the apology they've been waiting for.
"We could have responded better," Superintendent Bolgen Vargas said, according to WHEC-TV. "This is a situation that was definitely not handled the best way.”
Vargas went on to say that while the reaction from the teachers is understandable, students should be able to express their opinions at school without fear of punishment. As to whether the teachers who allegedly harassed Williams would be punished, Vargas would not go into detail.
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