NAACP leader makes an offer in the wake of Monroe students’ video reenacting George Floyd’s murder

The local leader of an NAACP chapter told Monroe school officials she appreciated their actions in the wake of two white students being punished for reenacting the murder of George Floyd in a social media video but would like to see more done.

Monday’s Monroe Board of Education meeting came after last week’s high-profile video incident led to the suspension of the two students who made and posted the now-deleted video.

The video, which showed a student’s foot upon the neck of a classmate lying on a floor, was posted the same week a white Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of murdering Floyd, a Black man, by kneeling on his neck.

School Board President David Grant read a statement at the beginning for Monroe’s meeting.

“As board president I want to express my disappointment at the actions of our students and the inappropriate video that was shared on social media,” he said. “We take this matter very seriously and discipline procedures are being implemented for the students involved. Monroe Schools strive to foster an inclusive educational environment where all individuals are treated with dignity.”

“We will continue to do the work necessary in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion. We are dedicated to starting this dialogue … to make sure we honor our commitment to maintain an inclusive school environment,” said Grant.

Middletown NAACP President Celeste Didlick-Davis told the board “we are concerned” beyond the single video incident and also “about some other implicit bias and systemic racism (and) incidents which have been brought to our attention over several years.”

But, said Didlick-Davis, “we are here to offer our assistance – we have cultural competency training.”

The Middletown NAACP chapter also covers the adjacent city of Monroe and other parts of Butler County.

“I have reached out to the superintendent about how we may be of assistance,” she told the board.

Last week Monroe Superintendent Kathy Demers sent a notice to school parents stating: “When high school administrators became aware of the video, an investigation began immediately.”

“Although we cannot disclose what disciplinary actions are being taken, please know we will not tolerate these inappropriate behaviors and actions in our schools,” said Demers.

The NAACP is looking to help “in a positive way so that this community, as well as our larger communities, can move forward,” said Didlick-Davis, who was thanked by the board for her offer.

Grant said, “please know that we are listening and that your comments will assist us in taking the next steps as a district – and a board – to address these issues.”

Staff Photographer Nick Graham contributed to this story.

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