Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) – Ahead of the annual budget process of Virginia Beach City public schools in a board member’s Facebook post, some are concerned that there may be an attempt to deprive funding for students’ programs from other English-speaking countries.
This week, school board member Victoria Manning posted on her personal page a four-statement statement calling for an increase in the number of students participating in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program and the growing funding VBCPS allocates for it.
The message ended with Manning saying, “Continuing to teach South Americans is not sustainable.”
On Friday, a growing number of political groups, the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission, as well as the head of the school department and several of Manning’s colleagues issued statements about her remarks. One even demanded an apology.
However, it is still unclear exactly what Manning meant by his message.
Manning is known for making messages on social media that cause the growth of others. In 2019, she made such detailed dissatisfaction with the current Virginia delegate. was investigated by Capitol police when she wrote she planned to acquire an “arsenal.Most recently, she pushed for taking books out of school libraries for possible violation of school justice policy.
Her recent post came after a briefing on the district ESL program during a board meeting on Tuesday.
Dr Nicole DeVries, director of K-12 and gifted programs, described how 43 local ESL teachers currently work in the county, up 12 from 2021. She said the number of student participants increased from 1768 to 2020-21. until 2084 in the current school year.
Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence is asking for more than $ 800,000 for eight additional full-time positions for the 2022-23 academic year and for a review of current contracts for 10 months.
DeVries explained that the four best languages that students speak when they start the program are Spanish, Filipino, Chinese and Vietnamese. She said that without a doubt, most students are Hispanic.
After the presentation, Manning asked, “Do they mostly come from South America?”
“Different countries, but I can tell you that we have a really large population from our Central American countries,” DeVries said.
To this, Manning said “thank you”, but did not comment further before its publication on Facebook.
The post quickly spread on social media, and many called her rhetoric “hateful”.
“I do not understand the motivation for the insulting comments made by this person,” Luis Rivera, a member of the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission, said Friday. “When you speak and specifically mention Latinos, you are indirectly telling me that you have something against people who are brown, black, Native American or Aboriginal and so on who come from the south of the United States border – and other people are fine, but Latinos – no. There is something wrong here. “
Lewis further said that ESL courses help students better assimilate, communicate with their peers and become tax-paying citizens.
«ESL [has] taught for decades with great success, ”Rivera said.
In a joint statement, Virginia Beach School Board Chair Carolyn Rai and Vice Chair Kim Melnik assured that “we personally do not tolerate or support our colleague’s comments on our ESL program” and that “our community must be confident that we will continue to teach and to accept every child who walks through our doors. ”
The Virginia Beach Democratic Committee has demanded that “Mrs. Manning withdraws his statement and apologizes. There are no statements about dog whistles in our inclusive and diverse city. ”
At this point, Manning has not done so.
On Friday, Manning said 10 On Your Side via text message: “I support our ESL program and we have excellent ESL teachers.”
She seemed to be trying to justify her post by posting it permanent staff shortage of the district.
“We lack 100 teachers, and now we need to add 8 more ESL positions. We don’t have the staff to keep up, ”Manning said. “If you have a program with more students and fewer teachers, then the program is unsuitable.”
Manning never clarified why she singled out the “South Americans.”
In a statement, Spence, head of the department, argued that the program is a definition of sustainability.
“I believe that our main job is to teach children – all children. At VBCPS, we hold the fundamental belief that every child who comes to us deserves to feel their belonging and love. Teaching and caring for our students, whoever they are, is the most resilient part of who we are. No matter what else happens, we will continue to do so as our core mission, and we will celebrate the diversity that makes our community so vibrant and beautiful. ”
“Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence.”
“It is a fundamental human right, according to the 14th Amendment, and a moral imperative that every student in our city, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity, receive a free and appropriate education.
“Learning English in our public schools is not a new concept. Fortunately, our local history is filled with stories of immigrants from many countries learning English in our schools. We are happy to be an inclusive community that welcomes families from all over the world to our fair city. These families make a great contribution to our city and want their children to have every opportunity to realize their potential. To abolish one segment of our community is to abolish our entire favorite community. ”
-Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission