Cy-Fair ISD board member faces backlash after comments on Black teachers

Texas

HOUSTON (KIAH) — A Cy-Fair ISD board trustee is facing calls for his resignation after making comments about Black teachers that are some are taking as “racism.”

At a board work session on Tuesday, CFISD board trustee Scott Henry was discussing the district’s equity audit, which looks at what CFISD is doing and what needs work with its diverse student population.

While trying to argue about a detail of the audit, Henry tried to make a comparison with the percentage of African American teachers in the district compared to the percentage at Houston ISD, and how that relates to HISD’s dropout rate.

“I love our teachers, but I looked online and you talk about people who look like us, and we have a hard time getting teachers. People don’t want to be teachers anymore, and that’s hard. But Cy-Fair ISD has 13% Black teachers. Do you know what the state percentage of Black teachers? 10%.  I looked it up.

CFISD board trustee Scott Henry

Henry also used HISD as an example to compare the drop out rate and what he considers a “district standard.”

“Houston ISD, which I’ll use as a shining example, do you know their percentage of Black teachers? 36%, I looked it up. Do you know what their dropout rate is? 4%. I don’t want to be at 4%. I don’t want to be HISD. I want to be a shining example. I want to be the district standard. I want to be the premium place where people want to be.”

CFISD board trustee Scott Henry

Henry’s comments went viral on social media on Wednesday, and several local leaders expressed disappointment and anger with his comments.

NAACP Houston Branch president Dr. James Dixon called for Henry’s resignation from the CFISD board, saying, the board “must vote to condemn his views. Voters and parents should unite to call for his resignation.”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo also asked for Henry’s resignation.

As a Cy-Fair ISD product, I’m appalled by Board Member Scott Henry’s insinuation that more Black teachers lead to more dropouts. Divisiveness and racism are what’s hurting our students. Not diversity.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner took to social media and said he was “saddened” by Henry’s comments while also calling for his resignation from the CFISD board.

Suggesting that having more Black teachers in a school district can create an increase in the dropout rate or a decline in classroom achievement is despicable. The rich diversity that resides in our city and region unites us more than ever.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner

Henry also took to social media to respond to the criticism, saying that his words were “getting twisted by political actors for political purposes.”

“Any suggestion that I said black teachers leads to worse student outcomes is a flat out lie and those spreading that lie should be ashamed of themselves,” Henry wrote. “I am proud that our school district has placed an emphasis on hiring diverse teachers and that we exceed in doing so.”

Henry was elected to the school board last November, along with two other trustees who ran their campaign fighting against critical race theory in the district.

CFISD has not made an official statement on Henry’s comments, but there is a scheduled board meeting this Thursday evening.

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