duPont Manual principal reprimanded over recorded conversation w - WDRB 41 Louisville News

duPont Manual principal reprimanded over recorded conversation with students

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The duPont Manual High School principal is being reprimanded over a recorded conversation with two students. 

The African-American students went to Principal Jerry Mayes to talk about the head football coach not allowing student trainers to kneel during the National Anthem before the Male vs. Manual football game. 

The recorded conversation obtained by WDRB lasts over an hour. On the tape, Mayes takes issue with protesting during the anthem.

Mayes: "What I don't like about it, there is some people where this is a sincere gesture on their part, and they sincerely mean that. There are some people jumping on it because it's the cool thing to do, that I don't like.

Student: I don't think anyone necessarily calls kneeling a cool thing to do.

Mayes: That's your perspective."

Mayes also explains how he has been the target of religious discrimination. 

"Mayes: You don't know how I was isolated or you don't know how I was discriminated against by the Catholic community because I was a protestant. My parents divorced. I could say that all day. 

Student: I think that's pretty different. 

Mayes: Well, how's that different?"

Student: "I know there is discrimination in religion. I'm aware of this, but I think to the degree like the discrimination degree, I think it's a little worse for black people than....

Mayes: How's that? I disagree with you on that."

On the recording, Mayes says, "I lost 4 jobs because I was white." And he also mentions JCPS administrators by name and said this about the head of the equity and diversity office.

Mayes: "That's what I was saying about John Marshall's office. His office is screwing things up so much." 

JCPS says it has reprimanded Mayes but didn't give details. School officials also plan a comprehensive culture and climate audit that will be taking place at the school. The district will also have an outside organization conduct an independent review of the recent allegations shared with the district.

    The Manual Black Student Union tweeted that Mr. Mayes will be at their meeting on Friday and to come prepared with questions. Mayes wrote in a letter that he didn't know the conversation was recorded. A parent said their daughter in the conversation also didn't know she was being recorded. Mayes said he's deeply committed to diversity and inclusion. 

    I recently met with two students in my office. In an open discussion with them on a variety of topics, which was recorded without my knowledge, I unfortunately used illustrations to make a point that included colleagues' names. I apologize for this mistake on my part.

    I am deeply committed to diversity and inclusion. They have been pillars of my life personally and professionally. We at DuPont Manual High 
    School are committed to open discussion of what can sometimes be sensitive issues. In this conversation, at one point, I was trying to challenge my students to broaden their perspectives on such issues. In the rush of this conversation, I may not have always communicated exactly as I might have hoped.  I believe that the sum substance of what I said in that conversation, however inartfully I may have said it, is consistent with my commitments to diversity and inclusion.  I regret that anyone may have a contrary impression.

    At Manual, we raise thinkers who question and challenge. I am proud of our students, their activism and their commitment to do what's right. I have learned an important lesson from them - to listen more and talk less.

    A JCPS spokesperson said the students were not disciplined. 

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