Principal Ted Horrell has issued an apology to parents and students after an assembly in which he allegedly told students that blacks are “less smart” than others. Students and parents have complained about Horrell’s school assembly to discuss the state report card, which is normally not discussed with students.
Horrell held the assembly because he thought the students, at Germantown High School could handle it. However, problems arose as he broke down the standardized test scores into the categories of race and income. Data he showed students gave them the impression that blacks are “less smart” than other students.
His apology reads in part, “I unintentionally offended a number of students on this campus. I apologize to all the students and parents who were offended. I certainly didn’t say that white students are smarter than black students.”
Deborah Cannon told local news channel WREG, “When my daughter came home from school, she was very upset. She felt he presented this information to reflect that the African American students were the reason the scores were down.”
Students have reported being harassed and taunted for “being dumb” after the assembly, though one student has publicly defended Horrell’s actions. In an email to WREG, the student wrote, “As a student there, I do want to know how we are performing when it comes to standardized tests. I think (based upon the reactions in the audience at the meeting) that once people were made aware of the data, they made judgments and did not fully listen to Dr. Horrell.”
On its website, Germantown High School’s mission reads: “The mission…is to educate all students in a supportive, challenging, and disciplined environment to become lifelong learners who are a credit to themselves and society.”
There is much debate about the use of the term “less smart” and the dividing of students’ test scores by race. One educator commented on the Huffington Post, “All African Americans are not less smart. This is what is called hidden racism to assume minorities cannot learn. Believe [it] or not their (sic) are racist teachers in the inner city classrooms.”
Another stated, “The numbers are what they are but perhaps he should have said certain groups do not perform as high as others rather than saying ‘less smart.’ If a group is indeed performing lower, the problem should be identified so a solution can be put into place.”