Alexandria School Board candidate wants cameras in classrooms and ‘examples’ of children who misbehave | ALX now

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Ricardo Roberts is, to say the least, an outlier in the 2021 school board race.

Roberts has had several run-ins with school officials, including a trespassing charge at a public school in Alexandria City that ended in an acquittal in court last year. While other candidates include outgoing school board members and others generally supportive of the direction Alexandria City public schools have taken in recent years, Roberts’ policy suggestions mark a sharp and potentially controversial compared to many other candidates.

Roberts was a social studies teacher at JH Johnson Junior High School in DC, where he was known as Coach Roberts for his love of basketball. Even a quick Google search, however, reveals that Roberts was accused of child sexual abuse in the first degree – an accusation for which he was finally acquitted.

Roberts said the charge was the result of a conspiracy against him.

“We have innocent teachers who take things that they haven’t done because they’re afraid,” said Roberts. “They go to court and … [prosecutors] try to get them to take things they haven’t done. Children make false accusations against teachers every day. Whether it’s prejudices or “he made me uncomfortable.”

It’s an accusation that led to one of Roberts’ policy proposals: installing cameras in every classroom.

“In order to be proactive, you have to put a bubble in the classroom… a surveillance bubble like you would in a McDonalds to watch happy meals,” Roberts said. “It would help children and teachers who are falsely accused. “

Roberts also has an uncompromising approach to punishment in schools that is at odds with the move towards restorative justice in schools, something he attributes to “Black Lives Matter and all that madness.”

While efforts to reduce arrests and prison terms aim to curb the School to prison pipeline, Roberts’ approach is more Hammurabi in nature, with a more eye-for-eye approach to discipline.

“You have to use someone as an example,” Roberts said. “You stop another assault. You [show them] you can’t get up and slap somebody in the face and jump somebody, you can’t steal somebody, you know it’s against the law. So why would you allow it in schools? We must stop perpetuating the fraud that these children do not know what they are doing. This is why the local drug dealers have children, who can only go to jail, sell drugs and commit crimes, because they know the consequences for them could be years in prison while they do not have months.

The District B candidate runs against six other candidates for the three open slots: former board member Kelly Carmichael Booz, Deborah Ash, Ashley simpson baird, Tammy S. Ignacio, Preann johnson and Bridget shea westfall.

Roberts has been a part of Alexandria school board meetings for several years, but recently had a tumultuous relationship with the principal of George Washington Middle School. Roberts said his son was being harassed by other students and alleged that the school administration was involved in encouraging him. After showing up to school following an incident, Roberts was reportedly kicked off the premises and then prosecuted for trespassing on school property – a charge that was later dismissed by Judge Donald Haddock Jr. when it became clear during last year’s trial that the scope of Roberts’ ban was unclear. The judge noted at the time that Roberts had a clearly strained relationship with the school.

“I’m just letting you know that this relationship with the school isn’t going well, and I feel like it always takes two to tango,” the judge told Roberts at the end of the trial. . “You’re the target of it right now, so I don’t want you to come out of here being encouraged that you’re right and they’re wrong.” “

Roberts said there were no consequences for the children, that “they used to get away with it.”

“They are going to be suspended from school,” he added. “They will not be arrested for a crime because they are trying to reduce the numbers. A kid who jumps up and slaps a teacher: they won’t have any consequences. It’ll be just a slap on the wrist.

Another element of Roberts’ educational plan is to shift attention away from preparing students for college and focusing on preparing more students for the job market.

“Let’s prepare our kids to pay taxes in America,” said Roberts. “A nurse earns a lot more money… Where are the worker bees? Worker bees are very important to the hive.

Now Roberts has said he’s working to sue Alexandria City Public Schools and some George Washington Middle School staff – even though he’s running for the school board.

“I have a vision for how things should be and I’m speaking the truth, and a lot of people can’t accept the truth, and a lot of people find it hard to come to terms with the change,” Roberts said. “I said to [the teacher’s association] “I don’t need the support of a teachers’ association. You are scared. I’m not afraid to say what needs to be said.


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