This week I stared into the eyes of the devil and his name was Darren Demeio.
He was stone-faced cold. Like when you take the hood off a Klansman and look them in the eyes and see death. He was the grim reaper.
Who is he? He was my daughter Mikaela’s triflin- ass 9th grade Algebra teacher at Ola High School in McDonough, GA who I had no choice but to come face-to-face with because, check this: he called Mikaela and the kids in his classroom STUPID IDIOTS and more.
No, it is not a typo. No, it’s not my word or Mikaela’s word against his. Before I tell the about the hellish week I’ve been through with the administration from the school and how Mikaela has been hurt and depressed and how I had to literally FIGHT to get any kind of repercussions cast against this shiftless excuse for an educator, let me FIRST insert PROOF, a small portion of the findings from an investigation from the Henry County School Board Assistant Superintendent who sent me this confirmation. THEN, I’ll explain. It’s a long story, but necessary, so hold on tight:
Thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention.
I would like to begin by stating we do not condone the use of language or actions that convey that our students are anything less than that best and most capable students in the State of Georgia. With that being said, I understand the anger, frustration, hurt, and lack of trust that you must be experiencing, in light of Mr. Demeio’s comments.
I would also like to stress that the OHS administration and I, personally, have addressed, and are addressing this incident with the degree of seriousness and the level of action which it warrants.
I want to assure you that there has not been, and there will not be any “cover-up” of this incident. I have ensured, that the response to Mr. Demeio’s comments and actions, first, reflects the seriousness of the incident, and second, is in accordance with Henry County Schools Board of Education policies, the District’s administrative policies and procedures, and state rules, regulations, and statutes
It is important to note that I am not at liberty to disclose any adverse employment actions, or even provide information that specific adverse employment actions have taken place, in regards to Mr. Demeio, or any personnel employed by the District. Adverse employment actions are included as part of an employee’s evaluation which, by state statute, is confidential. However, I can tell you that the matter is being addressed in accordance with district policies and procedures. Additionally, I am able to share with you the following:
- An investigation into the incident was undertaken and completed.
- It stands as determined that Mr. Demeio made the statement’s to students in his class
- Demeio has pledged to apologize to your daughter, as well as the other student’s in his class.
- Shedd and the OHS administration has committed to providing the necessary level and degree of professional development and training for identified faculty and staff, in the area of sensitivity and ethical interactions with students.
- Your daughter will be given the opportunity to speak to the counselor, if she would like to talk to someone about the incident.
Again, I would like to reiterate that this matter has been addressed with the utmost level of seriousness and concern. As educators, we have a responsibility to ensure that we are lifting students up. Thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention and giving us the opportunity to address them.
Robbie P. Hooker
Robbie P. Hooker, Ph.D
Assistant Superintendent – High Schools |Leadership Services | Henry County Schools”
Now, let’s talk.
Mikaela, a normally bright and very happy girl who everybody LOVES, came home last week feeling really depressed and dejected after her math teacher went on this vitriolic diatribe. She was hurt. My daughter is truly brown girl magic in every sense but in this moment, she was broken and that broke me.
For everything that I’ve tried to preach and teach and everything I’ve said to lift her up and make her feel like the little QUEEN she is, was torn down in one fell swoop by a white man.
So here’s what happened:
Mikaela was doing a group project that went wrong and it earned her a less than honorable grade. She couldn’t do conversions or something. She already felt bad and to make matters worse, she said her Algebra teacher tore into the students and called them STUPID and IDIOTS.
In fact, this shithead teacher said they were so STUPID and such IDIOTS that he looked up jobs on the INTERNET that they could do instead that would NOT require a college degree!! He said they could be a dog walker in New York or a crane operator.
Yall. Yes, you heard me right. It took everything for me to hold back because how would YOU as a parent feel in this moment hearing that a teacher actually went there with your child?
I was outraged to say the least and shot off a helluva letter to the school administrators Mr. Chavous, the assistant principal and Mr. Shedd the principal and Mr. Demeio about his unprofessionalism and the garbage that he was teaching and doing behind closed doors.
Mr. Chavous, a Black school administrator – first I don’t even want to get started with him because I need to reserve all my anger in this post for Mr. Demeio, but let’s just say this, every Black man ain’t got your back and Mr. Chavous might have melanin but he ain’t a brother that will fight for the Black kids at that school. PERIOD. He was a big vat of disappointment and did everything to protect Mr. Demeio — who is also a football coach by the way –not Mikaela. Because of Mr. Chavous’ lack of action, it led me to go to the school board to get the help I needed.
Anyway, so Mr. Demeio’s students were having trouble with a math concept and he resorts to belittling them because they were struggling? It’s a clear sign that a jerk was at the helm of educating our kids and promoting increased feelings of panic and frustration about something they’re already bad at.
Calling kids STUPID and IDIOTS will never contribute to shaping our children into better learners. A teacher’s words are powerful, and even more, a Black child who sits in the classroom of a white teacher who feels comfortable spewing this brand of hate in a place that is supposed to be a safe haven, further proves that we are living in dangerous times and our kids are under fire and in danger.
We should be even more concerned because the school halls is the same place where our country refuses to protect and legislators continue to make it easy for folks to shoot up schools since they REFUSE to pass laws with stricter gun regulations. They don’t care about kids.
Then they allow teachers like Mr. Demeio to destroy the minds of our youths by kicking them in the head with hateful words, and feeding their minds full of self- doubt. Wow. Are we living in the 1960s?
Mr. Demeio was way too comfy with his negative language. His classroom has become a dumping ground for his own inadequacy and inability to teach these students effectively and he retaliated by conjuring up the hate that was deep inside him brewing already. So what’s next, calling Mikaela a NIGGER?
The Hate He GAVE messed my daughter up and he planted seeds of insecurity that cut her deep.
And guess what? His white privilege allows him to stay seated at the table because NO he will NOT be fired.
I have been fighting like Tyson for the past week to get an appropriate response from the school and while the vice-principal sucks at his job and did his best to cover-up and protect Mr. Demeio, I pushed ahead and alerted district officials and board members about the matter. Let me note that they did respond appropriately and I am thankful.
However, while I was satisfied with the response from the Assistant Superintendent ensuring that they would reprimand Mr. Demeio and even implement professional development, I decided to meet with Mr. Demeio, face-to-face to conclude this horrific episode in Mikaela’s life and to get his side (not that I cared) and to hear from his heart a sincere apology.
This was going to be the moment of closure, right. But reading this obviously it didn’t go well and Mr. Demeio instead effed it up.
I moved from a predominately Black district where kids weren’t learning much to a white district where Blacks are few but where a white math teacher feels empowered to say or do whatever without accountability.
You know what I got from Mr. Demeio at the meeting? The same chilling, cold, soulless response that I could expect from our tyrannical President. The same cold-hearted, empty soulless blue-ish eyes that have no qualms about hanging Black bodies like strange fruit from trees.
Mr. Demeio didn’t have one drip of sympathy in his soul for what he did or for what he said to those kids. (oh yeah I recorded the whole thing and may upload.) He skirted the issues and I asked him SEVERAL times only for him to try to make me out to be a “stupid idiot” by saying, “I said the word but I didn’t direct it at any kid.”
- My child is one of a handful of kids of color at that school.
- Her teacher is white, openly mocked her, refused to apologize, apologized to get out of trouble, MANIPULATED HER INTO THINKING IT WAS SINCERE, then low key reaffirmed his racism in private at that meeting.
THEN add that several of his players from football (because he’s also a football coach, another reason he’s so protected) said “snitches get stitches” and scared the hell out of my daughter. They might as well have said “snitches get nooses” since Mikaela goes to a predominately WHITE school.
She is not safe at this school. Her blackness is a threat to those people and they’re figuratively donning their white Klan robes.
I’ve gotten her schedule changes so she doesn’t EVER have to face Demeio again. If he doesn’t know how to TREAT her, then he damn sure doesn’t DESERVE TO TEACH HER!
During the meeting, it took several swings at the issue to get him to address Mikaela and FINALLY apologize. But I HATE that he could not do it at first. That burns me up. I HATE that sitting there he had a VERY hard time coming to terms with what he said. I HATE that he had no empathy or SYMPATHY.
So you just not gonna’ own up and man-up to what you said? So you gonna try to make it seem like you said only ONE isolated word and threw it in the air by happenstance? And when I asked you about looking up jobs for dumb people you gon just lie and say you’re a teacher and you were just trying to help them learn about careers – in a math class?
I realized early on in that meeting that I was not going to convince Mr. Demeio to have a heart and to show empathy and to lean in a little more and express his care and concern. That’s not something typically a white man is capable of doing when faced by a fierce Black woman holding him accountable.
I soon realized that I was literally talking to a wall.
His whole entire job is to teach and inspire and he FAILED with a big, fat F on that!
Well these hands have value and can write about how I feel about this teacher and what he has done.
For all that our ancestors had to fight for; from the hellish Alabama Gov. George Wallace standing at the schoolhouse door blocking the entrance of brown kids getting access to education – for the Ruby Bridges of the world fighting to just go to school to BE educated, it was the white man who has ALWAYS stood in the way of equality and access to education for our kids.
So why would I EVER expect Mr. Demeio to have an ounce of sympathy or understanding for my daughter or why would I think he would care about the damage he did by the words he chose to use toward the young, impressible kids seated in his class just trying to learn.
He’s never had to fight for anything. He is not a father and doesn’t have children. And at this juncture in his life, he STILL has won because the crime of killing kids’ confidence is not great enough to cost him his job. HE IS and will remain, employed by the Henry County School district.
Again I am glad the higher ups at the school district DID respond to this and promised action. But at the same time, I am deeply saddened by the meeting with Demeio. And I told him he needs some soul-searching. He really needs to just quit teaching to be honest.
My daughter’s life and mind matters and what I will not allow is for him to think that he will ever shut her up or me or ever get away with mistreating my kid. Mikaela is not some throw away kid from a broken home.
The broken school system needs to be fixed and they can start by not being complicit (Like they did at first. Mr. Chavous I’m talking to you) and allowing teachers like Mr. Demeio to get comfortable with his negative language. A slap on the wrist is not enough. He wasn’t even suspended from what I know because that’s obvious if he’s still teaching classes!
All I wanted was Mr. Demeio’s sympathy for Mikaela’s sake. But no, he continued to be the mayonnaise, basic man that he is.
This is a picture of Mikaela on December 6, lying in bed at the moment she should have been in school because she was depressed and didn’t want to face Mr. Demeio or go back to school.
I sent an email to Mr. Chavous and told them to change her schedule STAT. This is what HURT and PAIN looks like for a 14-year-old who has experienced seeing her first dose of white privilege and feeling like her whole being doesn’t matter to folks who lie and say that kids are first.
She’s hurt and that’ why I’m hurt and will continue to spread the word about Mr. Demeio and the fact that this teacher is STILL employed and teaching kids.
He wanted to be famous so let’s make him famous and FIND some sympathy for the bull shit that he has done to my child and the countless other kids he damaged and hurt.
So what can you do to help? SHARE THIS POST FAR AND WIDE. I am OPEN and WILLING to talk to ANY MEDIA.
Thank you guys. The outpouring of love on Facebook has been TREMENDOUS. It took me a few days to write this because I had to get my head together and let the anger simmer. Now, I’ve got my SECOND wind and I and read to fight for change.
**Note: somebody is going to troll this post and ask why am I continuing if the school district reprimanded him. Because that soulless man is still sitting, teaching kids without an ounce of sympathy and told me explicitly that’s how he is. Oh, ok, well dummy if I had an angry parent sitting before me, I would have become so much different than the NASTY person that he was while at the meeting! He brought this on himself and I TOLD HIM THAT IN THE MEETING. So you get what you get so don’t pitch a fit about my post! So go away trolls. And if any of his people got a problem with this post or me, don’t be anonymous. If you want smoke, I got a lighter.**