Recent allegations of misconduct involving the staff at Binghamton’s East Middle school deserve serious inquiry and investigation. The parents of four twelve year-old girls who are students at the school, stated that their daughters were each subjected to a strip search, conducted by the school nurse and the assistant principal, reportedly because the girls seemed, “giddy” during lunch, and were suspected of being under the influence. School officials responded by saying that strip searches did not occurred but instead, the girls were asked to remove their coats in order to be properly evaluated. According to a school statement, the girls were not punished and returned to class.
Various news sources reported that a community group called Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow, (PLOT) and the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (NAACP), each issued statements, the NAACP local chapter President demanding the dismissal of school staff involved.
As the incident escalated in intensity, and as the wider community became aware of the allegations, the school district reportedly hired a law firm to conduct an investigation. Shortly afterwards, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo also commented on the incident and directed the New York State Police to conduct an investigation. Currently the story has gotten even wider attention and has been reported on nationally.
While many questions remain to be answered, there are a few that have yet to be asked, such as, why didn’t the parents immediately call the police once they learned their children were subjected to such outrageous conduct? If the allegations are true, it is possible that criminal acts have taken place. Once the police are involved and begin to take statements from all the parties, there are also criminal sanctions for making false statements to the police.
In addition, why did Governor Cuomo think it wise to by-pass the Binghamton Police Department and the local District Attorney’s office, instead ordering the State Police to conduct an investigation? This action undermines and discredits local authority and by inference casts a shadow on their competence and expertise. By disrespecting local law enforcement, the Governor has made matters worse. Because local law agencies are more intimately familiar with the community and its members, that would have been a better choice.
Another question that has yet to be asked, is what exactly is the relationship between these parents and the two organizations that have so quickly thrust themselves into the situation? A cursory look at the social media site of PLOT indicates an extremely militant and adversarial stance against men, capitalism and white people in general.
Under the What We Do: section of their own FaceBook page, PLOT states the following:
“This requires challenging those with privilege to acknowledge the ways they are complicit in oppression. Some have dismissed this approach as “divisive” and “alienating”—especially to white community members—but we view it as necessary.
We seek to empower, uplift, and ultimately liberate the most marginalized members of society—including and especially those who are Black, queer, trans, disabled, cash poor, women and/or non-men.”
So clearly, these parents aren’t simply stating that their kids were mistreated; they are asserting that this was a racially motivated event.
Imagine the outrage if an organization existed that said, in its defining documents exactly what this group says, but replaced the pronouns this way: Some have dismissed this approach as “divisive” and “alienating” — especially to black community members — but we view it as necessary. We seek to empower, uplift and ultimately liberate the most marginalized members of society — including and especially those who are White, straight, rich, men and/or non-women.”
It is frightening that the NAACP would align themselves with a racially divisive and bigoted hate-group like PLOT. It is also shameful that the NAACP calls for firings before any investigation has taken place. How ironic that a storied organization, over 100 years in existence that is so quick to call out the police for jumping to conclusions regarding racial matters, in this instance, demands that authorities do exactly that by firing people before we know any of the actual facts about what took place.
If these girls were subjected to anything illegal or inappropriate, then the appropriate sanctions will be imposed upon those wrongdoers. On the other hand, if these investigations conclude that the allegations are without merit, then those making such allegations ought to face the same legal sanctions appropriate in this case.
It is predictable that anything short of a finding that corroborates these allegations 100% will be unacceptable to, PLOT, the NAACP and the parents of these kids, especially when conducted by investigators that likely will include white “non-women.”
The bigoted and hateful sentiments expressed on the PLOT FaceBook page should disqualify that organization from being involved with any thoughtful dialogue. If the parents of these girls are actually seeking the truth, a thorough, formal legal investigation is the place to find it, not within the shameful and bigoted rhetoric of a hate group.
Maybe this group ought to see out the services of the Jussie Smollett legal team?