Myneisha Johnson was tragically killed a week before her graduation from Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis. To honor the young woman’s hard work, the school allowed her grandmother and 1-year-old son to accept her diploma.
This is usually seen as a touching honor – something similar happened with a friend when I was in college – but apparently it doesn’t sit well with everyone. The school’s Principal Alisha Coleman-Kiner shared an email exchange that she had with a concerned citizen about the message it sends, according to FOX13.
Let’s just say her response was well-warranted as the individual clearly jumped to multiple conclusions. The original email Coleman-Kiner received read as:
“The death of any young person is tragic. But to allow someone else to walk across the stage to accept her diploma is one thing but then give it to her young infant is another.
What are you thinking? The attitude and culture of the inner city youth need to change and doing this it won’t’ you’re acknowledging and celebrating this young child whose mother was tragically killed when in all fairness probably should have been home taking care of that young infant who now has no mother and quite frankly don’t know who this father is.”
Here is the principal’s well-thought out response:
Open letter to the lady who judged my baby….
Thank you so much for your unsolicited ‘food’ for thought. After regurgitating the washback you just emailed (as it was definitely not ‘food’), I offer the following appetizer, entrée, and dessert for you to consider:
1. Never email a high school Principal, who is also an English teacher, without checking the grammar and spelling in said email. In case no one ever told you, these errors sincerely diminish your validity. #2Timothy2:15 #Study
2. Never send a formal email of rebuke without first “fact checking’ your claims. That’s something else your English teacher should have taught you. For example, who told you that no one knew who the father is? Where were you when he couldn’t stand under the grief on Sunday at the candlelight vigil? How surprised would you be to learn that both the paternal and maternal grandparents have been actively involved in this child’s life since he arrived? #Proverbs6:16-19 #Abominable
3. Stereotyping, as a persuasive device, is an ineffective use of propaganda that allows the person using the device to draw lines around groups of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people. When you talk about people from the 3rd person point-of-view (‘the attitude and culture of the inner city youth needs…”), you turn those people into objects, which can then strip them of human rights. Side note: I had my first college degree and had been married for some years before I had my daughter, and, even I went out every now and then – without my child. How is it that you know that my student was an irresponsible parent, again?#Deuteronomy10:18 #GodDefends
4. Just in case you didn’t know, having a baby is NOT the sin. Pre-marital sex, if we’re counting, is the actual sin. God loves babies. In fact, whenever there is a problem in the world, HE sends a baby with the answer (i.e. Jesus). Because my student was such a great person, maybe God decided to use her as a conduit between her son and the world to provide an answer. That would help make sense (especially for me) of all of this foolishness. Side note: Pre-marital sex may not be YOUR sin, but it only takes one sin to send you to hell, and God never said that sin was only pre-marital sex, and HE loves babies.#Jeremiah1:5 #Psalm8:2 #PurposeInPain
5. You have NO idea how hard my student was working to overcome every single obstacle in her life. She worked a job every day, she kept her OWN baby (we had to ask her if we could keep him), she played on the basketball team, she did well in all of her Honor’s classes, she kept up with her younger siblings and made them come to school, and, most importantly, she NEVER missed one day of school. There are other issues that she had to deal with that I refuse to share, but just know that I know a whole slew of adults who would be in an insane asylum if they had to live with one tenth of her issues. #Matthew12:36,37#EveryWord
6. This baby has only lived one year. He will NEVER know his mother. He will only have what we have shared, the videos that have been recorded, and what people have written to begin to understand the love she had for him. We WILL add this to his treasure chest of memories. #Matthew25:40 #WeLoveKylan
7. Because SEVEN is the number of completion, and symbolically the number of days my student had left to walk across the stage when her life was AGGRESSIVELY snatched away from her, my last point is: Stay. In. Your. Lane. This sweet baby meant too much to me for me to remain professional if I receive any more emails from judgmental folk who sit in the air looking “down” on folk they don’t deserve to sit next to. #Matthew1:7#AlishaKiner #NotInTheMood
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