The Flagler Playhouse’s shows will go on: the venerable company’s 150-foot theater in downtown Bunnell was demolished two weeks ago, but in a Phoenix-like turn-around, its next three shows will be staged at Matanzas High School’s Pirates Theater, essentially more than salvaging the bulk of the season. The playhouse is launching its “Let’s Kick Off the ReBuild” campaign at Woody’s BBQ Tuesday evening.
Flagler Schools Superintendent LaShakia Moore hosted a town hall at the Carver Center in predominantly Black South Bunnell Wednesday evening in the wake of the segregated assemblies at Bunnell Elementary School. The audience of some 110 and the superintendent engaged in an open conversation about education and community involvement, with only two moments when the assemblies and their aftermath were discussed.
Bunnell Elementary school’s leadership environment that enabled a trio of teachers to hold assemblies targeting only Black students last month was disjointed, incurious, careless and oblivious to the optics of segregating Black students in the name of improving test scores, regardless of their academic standing, a pair surprisingly limited and identical internal investigations reveal.
Donelle Evensen this morning announced her resignation as Bunnell Elementary principal five weeks after being named to the position, and not quite three weeks after being placed on leave following her approval of an assembly where faculty segregated Black students. At no point in either letters does Evensen take responsibility or offer any regret for the tenor of the assembly or the misjudgments that led to it.
SURJ Flagler is horrified about the devaluation of the African American students, and how they were subjected to a “less than” self-image. Not to be forgotten is the impact of this segregation on the non-black students, where yet another false seed of academic and social superiority has been planted.
It is now so routine to reduce individual students to cogs among subgroups enslaved to the expectations of standardized testing that our educators have lost sight of their purpose. The state’s transformation of education into a dehumanizing machinery is to blame. So is the Flagler County School Board’s emphasis on running the district as a business, and now branding its superintendent a “CEO.” The individuality and dignity of students is lost to a damaging bottom-line mentality.
Donelle Evensen, the principal at Bunnell Elementary School for mere weeks, was placed on paid administrative leave today, and Superintendent LaShakia Moore asked that a three-hour board workshop scheduled for today, where she was to be interviewed for the permanent job, be postponed.
Contrary to her written statement on Tuesday, today’s video statement by LaShakia Moore on the segregating of Black students in an assembly at Bunnell Elementary last week was more forceful, more clearly recognizing the breadth of the problem–as her statement on Tuesday had not–and twice included an explicit apology.
Bunnell Elementary’s Black 4th and 5th graders on Friday were singled out in two assembles, told that if they didn’t bring up their test scores, they could end up in jail, shot or dead, they were paired off to compete academically against each other, and the winners would get McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A. Their parents were never told. Parents are outraged. The superintendent acknowledges that while raising test scores is essential, the situation was mishandled.
Interim Superintendent LaShakia Moore is appointing Donelle Evensen, the current Assistant Principal of the Year for Flagler Schools, as Bunnell Elementary’s next principal, replacing Marcus Sanfilippo, who moves to the district office.