Hoover teachers voice frustration about the cancellation of author Derrick Barnes’ visit

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 8:04 PM CST
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HOOVER, Ala. (WBRC) - Last week, we reported on the Hoover City School District cancelling children’s book author Derrick Barnes just before his planned visit to a few elementary schools in the area.

This upset some parents and teachers in the Hoover community.

Now, more than 100 teachers in the district have come together to voice their concerns and frustration.

Teachers Kent Haines and Reed Lochlamy wrote a letter to the school district and asked teachers in the school system to sign it. They submitted the letter last Friday with 140 teacher signatures.

Haines and Lochlamy felt it was important to show how many teachers in the school system cared about Barnes’ cancellation.

“How many teachers want those students to be able to have that opportunity to see themselves reflected in the people that we bring in,” Haines said.

In the letter, the teachers asked for more transparency about what occurred and how in the future the school system will respond to parent complaints without cancelling a major event with a nationally recognized author.

“More broadly, I am hoping that this leads our district to more fully enact its stated values regarding the diverse community that we live and teach in,” Haines said.

We reached out to author Derrick Barnes to get his reaction to the letter that was sent out by teachers in Hoover.

“I look forward to finally coming down there hopefully this upcoming school year and I just want to tell all of them thank you, love them very much and keep up the fight,” Barnes said.

We also reached out to the Hoover City School District who said:

“We are very happy to work with our teachers in understanding this situation. Additionally, we are so pleased that the teachers in Hoover feel comfortable in approaching the administration in these matters. There have been widespread media and social media coverage, some of which is not factual and some of which has been misleading.”

These inaccuracies led Dr. Fowler to send the response below to the petitioners on Saturday, February 4, 2023:

“Thank you for your expression of concern and request for additional information. I will be pleased to provide a substantive response to your request as soon as possible next week and appreciate the opportunity to do so.”

The reply back to Dr. Fowler was:

“Thank you, Dr. Fowler. [we] look forward to hearing from you in the coming days and learning more from your perspective. We are very proud to work for a district that has led the pack in many ways when it comes to clarifying its beliefs and intentions related to the important work of diversity and equity, and we look forward to working with you in the future as we continue to demonstrate our commitment to those ideals.”

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