School days

Teacher at Terence Crutcher’s daughter’s school posts wrenching story about his death’s impact on kids

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Fifth grade students at the school the late Terence Crutcher’s daughter attends have some questions.

Why did they have to kill him? Why were they afraid of him? Why does [student] have to live life without a father? What will she do at father daughter dances? Who will walk her down the aisle? Why did no one help him after he was shot? Hasn’t this happened before? Can we write her cards? Can we protest?

These were just a few of the discussions surrounding Crutcher’s killing by Officer Betty Shelby, according to a Facebook post by Rebecca Lee, a teacher at the KIPP Tulsa College Preparatory.

Lee is white. The federal Department of Education lists the student body at KIPP Tulsa as 90 percent black during the 2013-2014 school year, meaning most of her students are young black children trying to understand why their classmate’s father is dead.

The Tulsa World spoke with KIPP Tulsa Principal Andrew McRae about the school’s decision to directly discuss the shooting with its students.

“We are trying to educate an entire school community about something that is really traumatic and personal to a member of our school community, while simultaneously creating a safe space for our kids to grieve and talk about something that affects us as KIPPsters but also as a community of people of color,” McRae told the World.

In her post, Lee talks about the group discussions each grade level had about Crutcher’s death with the hopes that readers “will have a clearer understanding of the crisis we’re facing and why we say black lives matter.”

I share this story, because while I could never capture the articulate things kids said or the raw emotions students shared today, my privilege requires that I speak. I ask that you read. I ask that you use whatever privilege or platform you have to speak. I ask that you put yourself in the shoes of black and brown children growing up in a world where they see videos of their classmate’s father shot and bleeding in the street.

You can read the full post below.

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