By Michelle Antoine
It is a special time every January when we celebrate the great, late Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King’s tireless efforts to forward civil rights for Black Americans and his overwhelming message of righteousness and love continue on, even today. There is no better evidence of marked societal change than the election and inauguration, a little over a year ago, of the first African American to the office of Lt. Governor in North Carolina, Mark Robinson.
Mark Robinson deserves recognition for his accomplishment in becoming the first Black Lt. Governor of North Carolina. Yet, the Johnston County School Board persists in its stubbornness failing to make amends for the outward racist behavior of its white, male teacher a year ago. We haven’t forgotten the KKK drawing from our Johnston County middle school teacher Dennis Draughon, work he had been doing on paid JCPS time. We haven’t forgotten because our School Board has never offered any transparency or reconciliation of the matter.
As we close in on the beginning of Black History month the words offered last February by Lt. Governor Robinson resonate, “Depicting the first Black lieutenant governor as Ku Klux Klansman. It’s something we cannot stand for, folks. It’s something I’m not going to stand for…That cartoon doesn’t really bother me, what bothers me is the hypocrisy behind it. That’s what bothers me, that you would portray a Black man, just because he is in the GOP, as a Klansman.”
I’ve had multiple Johnston County residents reach out to me, exhausted with efforts to get answers or some form of accountability from this Board regarding this issue. While privately a few board members and Superintendent Dr. Bracy offered a response in February of last year, no public statement was offered, and it was labeled a personnel matter.
In a follow-up in April, Ronald Johnson said he requested to Board Chair Todd Sutton that the body should consider issuing a supportive statement. A statement that would congratulate and recognize the accomplishment of the first Black Lt. Gov., Mark Robinson. The Board took no action on that request.
While personnel issues have confidentiality, Mr. Draughon continues his profession publicly as a cartoonists for a large-scale news outlet, and remains employed as an 8th grade teacher in Johnston County Schools. His published inflammatory drawings of our first African American Lt. Governor, depicting him as a KKK member conflicted with, or directly violated Johnston County School Board Policy 5170, 5350, 5115, and 5175.
The Johnston County Schools has historically given its residents statements regarding high profile ongoing investigations; including, the 2019 cases of Ivette Serrano Hughes, Torians Hughes, and Julia Lopp. Both Sampson County, under Dr. Bracy’s leadership and Johnston County gave statements regarding the case of Lotoya Snead in 2016. Mr. Draughon’s case is not a normal personnel matter, yet a year later no statement or apology to Mr. Robinson has ever been offered. Lt. Governor Robinson at the time posed a very good question, “The person who drew this is an 8th grade social studies teacher,… If he’s promoting this at WRAL, what is he doing in his classroom?”
This is terrible public relations, and deeply troubling. Ignoring such a humiliating and divisive political narrative while not offering a public response demonstrates a value set expectation from the School Board to educators in our community that is contrary to Dr. King’s words, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
The attention Mr. Draughon has brought upon himself, and our public schools demands accountability to the taxpayers and parents of Johnston County.
We appreciate the ongoing care for our schools and efforts to bring quality education to our great County by our committed staff and administrators. It is with deep regret that I recognize the failure of our Board of Education, except Ron Johnson, to be a champion for ALL Black leadership and progress in our Great state of North Carolina.
Michelle Antoine, B.S., B.A., M.S. is a candidate for Johnston County School Board, formerly licensed teacher, counselor, education reform advocate and mom to eight children.
I have to hand Michelle Antoine a very sensire “that a girl”. She has not only mastered the pen so to speak, but has reached down to where many are unwilling to go and bring to surface the real racist that hide behind the mask of liberal progressive liberal politics. I grew up on the so-called wrong side of the tracts and I can assure you racistism thrives and flourish’s in those human hearts as well as any other.
There are ZERO images created by this teacher that are of Robinson as a KKK member. That is an outright lie. The image was art work done for WRAL that depicted how members of the state school board were trying to keep schools from teaching about racism and the KKK. If Mark felt offended about the cartoon then he should take a moment to reflect on how his DIRECT hate towards other people has offended them as well. I wonder if Ronald Johnson has reached out to Mark and asked him for an apology for how he has degraded others?
Just another hit piece by a losing school board candidate who truly believes she is smarter that the rest of the citizens of Joco. It’s sad that she has so much hostility and hatred inside for the people and place she choose to move into from out of state. The school board and superintendent can’t even educate the students properly, they don’t need to be spending time on what the Lt Gov said or meant. His words are on him. She will never get my vote.
The Lt Gov didn’t make a Klansman drawing on school time. Basic reading skills go a long way. You sound like a liberal bitter hater, I’d vote for her based on your tantrum alone.
No proof exists that this work was done on school time and therefore he is entitled to pursue his side work. I actually have no qualms with our Lt. Governor and for the most part support what he stands for. He is exceedingly well spoken and represents our state well. I don’t agree with every stance he has but the cartoon though in poor taste (my opinion) is far from illegal or a violation of school policy.
Is anyone really surprised by this? Had the Lt. Governor had a D beside his name, then all Hades would break loose.
Kim Jong Un…..and that is why it is an issue! It isn’t even the race but the hate towards a black man because he is a Republican!
This all has to do with Hate spewed by the TRUMPSTER or should I say DUMBSTER.
I have serious concerns about the integrity of Michelle based on past experience with her-and I wouldn’t suggest her running for any position, especially trying to pass herself off as a Republican. I think this article is her attempting to virtue signal for favor by playing the “Race Card” and Mark is way more than the race card. He is an actual- true to life Conservative. Stop putting him the race box it is embarrassing.
Leave it to Michelle Antoine to use one of our greatest civil rights leaders to pull a bait and switch. She uses King and Robinson to put a spin on identity politics to pander to those voters she hopes will elect her to the School Board. What a shame.
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