Allegations involving a teacher forcing students to apologize for their ‘white privilege’ surfaced during the May 8th meeting of the Rockingham County School Board.
Most of the public comments were in opposition to ongoing ‘equity training’ in the district.
During the public comments portion of the meeting, a woman named Farren Wilkinson addressed the board alleging a teacher had humiliated and bullied children in her class.
Text of Wilkinson’s opening comments about the alleged incident:
“I just want to share light on a situation that happened at Western Rockingham Middle School where a teacher caused some of her students to stand up and apologize to other students based on their inequal opportunities of education. So I would like to know how our schools can allow an educator to humiliate, bully and degrade students. This is not a matter of race but a matter of a teacher using fear and the embarrassment of children to satisfy her own personal anger or beliefs.”
Video of Wilkinson’s full statement can be viewed here.
American Lens was informed by various parents in the area that the teacher in Wilkinson mentioned is 6th grade English Language Arts teacher, Tarsha Clarke.
American Lens was also told by one parent that the incident was more specific than Wilkinson stated.
According to that parent, Clarke forced her white students to stand in front of the class and apologize to the minority students for their, “white privilege.”
American Lens contacted Stephanie Wray, Principal of Western Rockingham Middle School, was asked for comment the alleged white privilege incident involving Clarke.
Wray indicated no such incident happened.
“In regard to your additional requests, I can not speak on any individual, however any allegations brought to our attention are investigated thoroughly and proper disciplinary action is taken if needed. Again, I can not speak regarding specific individuals due to personnel law, however the particular incident you asked about was unfounded to happen at our school,” wrote Wray.
Wray confirmed that Ms. Clarke is still employed with Rockingham County Schools. Attempts to contact Clarke were unsuccessful.
The board and Superintendent were copied on the request to Wray, but none chose to respond.