I am saddened but not surprised by the tone of white passivity surrounding The Seattle Times’ coverage of the disciplinary complaint recently won by the parents of Eric Anthony Souza-Ponce at Ballard High School. Principal Keven Wynkoop was found guilty of retaliation against a student of color, in violation of not only district policy, but also state and federal law.
And yet the article tepidly wastes readers’ time on a meandering tour of the eight-month disciplinary process with all the urgency of an English essay about great books. It’s a soft way of burying racism. It’s a soft way of obfuscating the fact that a student of color was silenced, intimidated, and harassed by a principal and teacher who continue at Ballard High School without any real repercussions.
Parents rightfully complained loudly to the district and the school board about the unexpected school closure Nov. 12. Many of us were incensed by the nameless, faceless, hopelessly vague Seattle Public Schools emails. We rightfully interpreted the nonsensical term “noninstructional day” as a responsibility-dodging euphemism. We need to think about how similarly bland language is wielded in this article in order to allow a predominantly white readership to dodge responsibility for overt racism.
An-Lon Chen, Seattle
Correction: This letter, originally posted Nov. 19, 2021, was updated Nov. 22, 2021, to include the full name of Eric Anthony Souza-Ponce.