DHS Students have spoken up and spoken out regarding the complaint filed by Dr. Nahmias (former IB coordinator).
Dr. Cheryl Nahmias has broken the trust of Decatur High School (DHS) students and alumni by filing a civil complaint in which she listed “racial discrimination” as the basis for her demotion. Due to her complete denial of culpability within the complaint, we have found various concerning factors that have illustrated that Dr. Nahmias is not suitable to work with DHS students, especially students of color if Decatur is interested in improving their efforts towards equity and inclusion.
We assert the following points as the focus of this statement:
- Dr. Nahmias’s reinstatement to her former position as IB Coordinator of DHS will be harmful to students of color and their parents.
- We call upon DHS to institute a platform for students to share their grievances with administration and faculty, and initiate actionable plans to make the school more equitable and establish a trusting environment.*
- We call upon City Schools of Decatur (CSD) to, once again, revise the Code of Conduct to list a clear consequence for Level 5 violations concerning identity-based aggressions.
In Claim 35 of the complaint, Dr. Nahmias decides to exploit her past relationship as an ally to students of color for personal and professional gain, making her presence as an administrator and an educator harmful to the academic operations of said students. Her disregard for the value of
relationships beyond the ethos in her lawsuit inherently reduces her past support for inclusivity to a form of performative activism. Consequently, her complaint, unfortunately, creates an environment where students of color are unable to trust the proclaimed “allyship” from the
faculty. We fear Dr. Nahmias betrays students of color through this exploitation and proves herself unfit to be responsible for their education and security.
CSD betrays its mission, its students, and its community if it continues to support or reinstate Dr. Nahmias. Cheryl Nahmias fought to defend her son’s racist threats and for him to receive lighter consequences. Considering DHS’s engagement in multiple conversations and educational
opportunities to discuss the impacts of racism in the school system, Dr. Nahmias’s actions precisely demonstrate an unwillingness to create and maintain a safe learning environment for all students; continued support is antithetical to CSD’s mission of inclusivity. Moreover, the claim that these consequences were given out by the Central Office as a form of prejudice held against her race demonstrates how the rhetoric of the complaint gaslights her Black colleagues and trivializes the reality of racism within CSD and broader communities. (Claim 231)
It is clear that Dr. Nahmias’s positions on racial discrimination are an indication of her privilege to abruptly shift her values for whichever ideology offers greater convenience. On May 1, 2020, DHS senior Genesis Reddicks wrote: “That Word is Power: A Black DHS Student’s Response to White Classmates Saying the N-word”, an Op-Ed detailing the significance of the “N-word” and places a focus on situations such as this one, in which white aggressors demean their Black counterparts as a tactic to elude just consequences. Dr. Nahmias, in writing and action, commended Reddicks and promoted the article on the DHS Facebook page. However, following her son’s threatening offense (which Dr. Nahmias deemed a “parody”), Dr. Nahmias and her son expected to be educated and accepted back into the school, specifically by Black colleagues and students. (Claim 26/35) Consequently, students are distrustful of how she may use her position if she is reinstated at DHS.
It is important to remember that the IB Coordinator position is tied to the International Baccalaureate Organization, which is supposed to represent a system of international open-mindedness. Understanding her true intentions with this complaint, Dr. Nahmias’s reinstatement would not reflect well on CSD.
The students of DHS demand that Dr. Cheryl Nahmias does not return to her former position of IB Coordinator as a means of maintaining a safe academic environment. Additionally, we urge DHS administration to organize conversations between students and faculty to reconcile the provocation of pre-existing distrust of Decatur’s institutions of education.
We call upon DHS to institute a platform for students to share their grievances with administration and faculty, and initiate actionable plans to make the school more equitable and establish a trusting environment.*
The CSD Code of Conduct does not properly promote accountability for instances of racial aggressions. Therefore, we call on CSD to, once again, revise their policies around identity-based discrimination. There should be clear consequences listed in the CSD Code of Conduct for Level 5 violations, specifically regarding identity-based aggressions so that they will protect the victims of such behaviors.
CSD must recognize the extent to which this act of racial aggression hurts every member of Decatur’s Black community, regardless of their position within or outside of CSD. Such an act furthers racial divisions between the white and racial minority communities of Decatur and it is the duty of our school system to combat the social barriers placed upon us by institutional
- Students of Decatur High School (current and alumni)
- Co-writers: Daxton Pettus, Genesis Reddicks, Liza Watson, Renny Hyde, Koan Roy-Meighoo, Lauryn Williams, Marta Westerstahl, Erin Gaul, Anna
Immergluck, Charlie Morris, Kayla Evans, Cleo LaGon