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An Opinion letter to Barbers Hill ISD Board of Trustees

July 24, 2020

Re: The Case of Mr. Kaden Bradford and De’Andre Arnold…

Dear George Barrera, Fred Skinner, Cynthia Erwin, Becky Tice, Benny May, Eric Davis, Clint Pipes:

I am a Marine Crops Vietnam V.F.W., a retired California State Peace Officer, and an American Indian with long hair. I served as a State Peace Officer with long hair because the State of California recognized my Constitutional religious and cultural rights as an American Indian. I also want to point out that the American Indian religion was the only religion “outlawed” in the United States, just Google the 1883 Religious Criminal Code. This code lead to the Massacre at Wounded Knee because they were conducting an illegal ceremony, the Ghost Dance.

The two young men in question are the type of young people this school should be supporting and recognizing their Constitutional rights for cultural expression. Your decision to not change the grooming standard, or accommodate these exceptional young men is a blatant statement that “only White culture is accepted at this school.” That the only way for a student of color to get any respect at your school is, they must shed any cultural/spiritual expressions that are not “White,” or that are not accepted in the White community. Your decision is an echo of the 1883 Religious Criminal Code, because the “sub-text” of your decision, without explicitly saying it is, all students of Color must act, look, and behave “White.”

Looking at the racial composition of the Board of Trustees it no wonder that the Trustees believe only “White” culture is accepted at the school. Like the “Jim Crow Laws” the decision by the Board of Trustees places Black cultural expression in the “Back Seat of the Bus.” These young men, like Rosa Parks, do not feel they should be shoved to the “Back of the School’s Cultural Bus.” Has the Board of Trustees asked the other students at the school what they think and feel about the subject (or, don’t they care)? And, is the Board of Trustees decision on the school’s grooming standard only re-enforces and teaches the school’s White students “cultural intolerance for things that are not White?”

It is totally dishonest of the Board of Trustees to say it is only about keeping the grooming standard consistent, this is an obvious and blatant false façade. Is this the United States that I fought for when I served in the Marine Corps? Is this the United States that I put my body on-the-line for, that promised freedom of thought, cultural and religious expression?

As a citizen of the United States, that fought for this country and had a career in law enforcement, I am totally ashamed of the Barber Hill Independent School District Board of Trustees. For the Barber Hill Independent School District has reintroduced a new form of modern day “Jim Crow Laws.”

Jose Rivera
U.S. Marine Corps
Vietnam V.F.W. and Retried State Peace Officer