A new development on the East Ridge High School/Black Panther controversy. According to Robert L. Stephens' blog, his mother, Marquita Stephens, was allowed to go into ERHS on March 21, 2013 and conduct a "training" for the teachers on how they're "processing" the controversy. According to this infamous OWS protester, the teachers involved in the training had no problem with the Black Panther announcement on February 14, 2013. This information was confirmed by the FOIA'd emails - it was discovered that there were a series of emails between Ms. Stephens (her information was redacted, but the email's content includes discussion about a presentation) and Principal Harper that included some sort of book, a teacher survey and a 25 minute presentation by Ms. Stephens. The information referenced in the emails was not included in the FOIA'd emails (the link to the Google doc no longer works), so the concerned parents are very curious as to what was presented on the same day that Ms. Stephens went to the South Washington County School Board meeting and presented Robert L. Stephens' letter to the editor of the Woodbury Bulletin.
At the first school board meeting the concerned parents attended and presented their concerns to the board, Steve Ellenwood also offered to go into the school and discuss the history of the Black Panthers and the concerns of the parents to the teachers. His offer was brushed aside by the board. Why, then, was Ms. Stephens allowed to do a presentation? What are her qualifications for this honor? She is a social worker working (or has worked) with a non-profit adoption agency; what part of that qualifies her to "train" teachers? What about the report by Robert L. Stephens regarding how the teachers expressed no issues with the announcement? Is it that they are all indoctrinated to believe that as long as it was done in the context of Black History month that honoring socialist, militant groups over the school PA system, without including any classroom discussion time, is the right thing to do? Or is it because they were afraid of being labeled "racists" if they spoke out as those concerned parents have been by the supporters of the announcement? Isn't this a form of bullying by the administration? Or possibly the teachers were concerned about speaking out due to the fact that the district is planning to cut 22 teaching positions to save $1.6 million in the next budget?
There have been researchers investigating the Stephens' backgrounds over the last few days. Some of what has been discovered requires further investigation, however, one discovery may explain how and why Robert L. Stephens is completely radicalized in his beliefs about America. There has been some evidence discovered that seems to show that the late Reverend Dr. Robert L. Stephens, Sr. was a proponent of Black Liberation Theology - the same theology preached by Obama's controversial Reverend Wright. More research is being conducted to verify this possibility, but from what has been unearthed so far it seems likely that it could be true.
So, how does that possibility relate to the ERHS Black Panther issue? It would seem to make sense that if the Rev. Dr. Stephens ascribed to Black Liberation Theology, that his wife, Marquita, is also a proponent of the same belief system as would be their children. In that belief system, the Black Panthers would not be viewed as the violent criminals they were, but as liberators of oppressed people. Is that what Ms. Stephens "trained" the ERHS teachers to believe as well?
How are Marquita Stephens, Principal Harper and Tishanna Brown connected? From Robert Stephens' LTE, it is known that he graduated not from East Ridge High School, since it was not open in 2006, but Woodbury High School. Did his younger brother attend ERHS? Or are the three mentioned above acquainted in another way? It seems that according to the emails (see below) between Principal Harper and Ms. Stephens that they were working together on the teacher training presentation that Ms. Stephens performed on March 21, 2013. What exactly was taught during that "training"? Why weren't the concerned parents notified by the district that the "training" occurred or was planned? If Ms. Stephens truly wants a "dialogue" between the various groups in the community, why was this training kept secret? Why wouldn't the concerned parents also be invited to the "training"?
Last week, one of the concerned parents was strongly advised by a school board member (with witnesses) that the parents should remove their children from East Ridge High School due to the concerned parents' persistence in requesting that the school board investigate the Black Panther announcement. The school board member obviously feels concern for the children, why doesn't it seem to concern the rest of the board? Why isn't the board seeing the need to stand up and speak out about the possibility of harassment (or worse) of concerned parents' children at ERHS? Is the school board afraid of the announcement supporters? And if so, why? Is it the fear of being labeled, like the concerned parents have been, as "racist"? Or is there a more nefarious element at work? Are the administration and school board members being pressured to continue to try to sweep this issue under the rug and allow the concerned parents to receive the brunt of the accusations that their concerns are racially motivated? If that is the case, why are they caving to the pressure? Of what or whom might they be so afraid?