On Tuesday Richmonders collectively lost their minds after Christopher Newport University released a report on their RVA Mayor candidate poll findings. Before I could finish my breakfast, I found myself hostage to four separate group texts about the "shocking" news shared in the CNU report. The outcry was all over social media and the theme was pretty universal across the board; Why the hell is Richmond's own super-predator leading in the polls? And by a double digit lead no less. What the ham sandwich?
Like virtual wildfire, political experts and enthusiasts alike began chiming in... How this could have happened? Who did they poll? Who still uses a landline? Do these people own a tv? Is this a late April Fool's joke? Is facial recognition really that powerful? Why aren't the other candidates knocking on more doors? Oh, the questions went on all day and most of the next as well. After I reheated my cold oatmeal, I actually sat down and read the entire report and after taking a better look, most of those answers could be found deeper into the document. For those of you who didn't read it entirely, there is a decent margin of error when the statistics were broken down by districts. Yes, it was mostly landlines. And yes, the demographics were a mix, maybe not the optimal, but a decent mix all the same. One thing the report didn't include was the most important question of all, Why? Why exactly is Fighting Joe leading? Opinion column after blog article did their very best to pin point the answer to this question but I have another equally important one for all of you...
Why is no one showing this level of outrage and shock for the 8News Investigates Report on how safe RVA schools are for your kids?
Where are the experts and enthusiasts? The candidate responses? Anyone? Take a second and read their findings and ask yourself why this isn't plastered on every news outlet? Children afraid to go to school, teachers being assaulted, sexual assault at an all time high... Richmond schools are in trouble and there is no one person to blame. It was a hot topic at the recent NAACP candidate forum, where roughly half of the present school board candidates mentioned school violence and trauma based training as part of their platforms. The same number of people voiced strong opposition of Dr. Bedden's power role based leadership. RPS needs solutions, meaningful, productive, and fast solutions. When asked, candidates say they feel like RPS students are being failed. This is a conversation that needs to be had and RPS kids can't wait much longer for it to happen. The school to prison pipeline is a very real thing and I challenge #RVASchoolBoard, #RVACouncil, and #RVAMayor candidates to address this. Don't wait for the difficult questions, answer them now.