A few years ago, it only took one man and a rebel flag to turn a Rosedale neighborhood upside down, but when a truck appeared last week in the parking lot of Chesapeake High School in Pasadena carrying a Confederate flag on the outside and a noose in the cab, Jacqueline Boone Allsup fears the costs can be even more widespread.
"When you look at the impact of racism on the children, it can result in anxiety, anger, stress, and it could be everlasting memories for those kids," said Boone Allsup, the 1st Vice President of the Anne Arundel County branch of the NAACP, "It impacts on their self-concept, their wellbeing and could begin to affect their mental health."
The Anne Arundel County school system agrees with the concept of treating the students, but thus far a bid to add more counselors has come up empty.
"I'm confidant there'll be more dialogue,” said Bob Mosier, a spokesman for the school system, “Absolutely confident there'll be more dialogue. We have been largely reactive at this moment, triaging in the moment, but there have been a good amount of discussions about what to do as we move forward."
"With the school shootings that have occurred nationwide, they have immediate counselling for those kids,” countered Boone Allsup, “but what about now when we're having so many incidents that are impacting these children in our school system, why not have an open discussion to let those kids begin to express their feelings?"
Feelings, which can be repressed much like those of a young girl decades ago in the same county who still feels the pangs of walking through an unwelcoming white neighborhood on her way to school and church at her own peril.
"When we would walk through that neighborhood, those people would open the door and let the dogs come out after us,” recalled Boone Allsup, “I remember walking through there and running and being afraid."
In a bid to open further dialogue, we're told Chesapeake High Principal Stephen Gorski will be meeting with parents next week to discuss the recent incidents and the safety of students at that school.