Decatur High parent launches campaign to rid school of alleged gang problemThe front steps of Decatur High School. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
This story has been updated.
There were two fights outside of Decatur High School on Nov. 10 involving black female students.
That much everyone can agree on.
But the father of one of the students who was attacked, Okeeba Jubalo, says there is a gang problem at the school that City Schools of Decatur administrators have repeatedly ignored for years. The other girl who was attacked is his daughter’s friend.
Superintendent David Dude said there is no gang problem at Decatur High.
The discussion is a racially charged one. Jubalo, who is black, posted a review on CSD’s Facebook page calling the students that attacked his daughter, “ghetto rats across the tracks” and calling for the Decatur Housing Authority property to be bulldozed and the students there sent to other districts. Dude said he has a problem with that language, but Jubalo stands by his words.
Decatur High School is a great place, but it would be better with stronger leadership. The Administration team is terrible and cowardly. Dr. Williams and her team of paper pushers should be replaced TODAY!
My daughter and her friend were ganged by 10 girls today and Dr.Williams and her staff suspended my daughter and her friend for 2 days…while they investigate? The AP was there and watched it and refused to do anything.
My family has been going back and forth with that school for 2 years and Dr. Williams refuses to deal with the real issues…those ghetto rats across the tracks. I wish they would just bulldoze that property and send them to Dekalb County or APS.
As a father who spends good money for his children to be in a safe space while at school, I am pissed about their inability to manage that campus.
To fix that school…they need to start with a new leadership team. I am taking this to the press and public next week. I will expose them for who they are and what they refuse to do…AMEN. – Okeeba Jubalo’s review of CSD, posted on the school district’s Facebook page
“We can’t have that kind of dialogue,” Dude said. “We care about all of our students, not just a certain population.”
Jubalo said people shouldn’t try to “minimize what I said and do some word flip.” He said the election of Donald Trump as president means that “political correctness” is no longer relevant. Trump ran a racially-tinged campaign that included rhetoric targeting Latinos, Muslims and women, among other groups.
“The second that we picked Donald Trump, who is politically incorrect about everything, that means we’ve created a new culture and a new climate in communication,” Jubalo said. “That changes the culture of communication in the American fabric. I didn’t create that situation. I’m a black man in America raising my children. Being politically correct, that’s a formality. That’s a laugh now. That’s a punch line. Build the walls. We don’t live there anymore, sir.”
Jubalo has launched a website about the incident that includes correspondence with school administrators. He has also contacted other media outlets, including Decaturish. He also posted a video of the fight, which Decaturish is not publishing because it involves minors.
According to Decatur Police Lt. Jennifer Ross, the incident occurred on the morning of Nov. 10. The school resource officer met with an assistant principal and two students.
“The assistant principal stated that a fight had occurred in the crosswalk area of North McDonough Street and East Maple Street between one of the students and a group of female students and that a second fight had occurred between the second student and the same group of female students on the lawn of Decatur HIgh School,” Ross said. “The group of female students had been removed from the scene and were with a Decatur High School Administrator. School administrators determined that all potential participants in the fray be sent home pending administrative investigation regarding the incident.”
Dude said CSD is handling the situation as it would any other fight, and acknowledged that Jubalo feels the situation is behind handled differently because his daughter is black.
“All of the children involved were African American in fact, not that that’s relevant, but it is to him,” Dude said. “This one parent has taken it upon himself to make it into an issue.”
Dude said he had not heard of any problems regarding gangs at the high school until this incident.
“We do not have a gang issue at Decatur High,” he said. “There are a couple of kids, three kids fighting with two kids. It is not a gang situation.”
Jubalo said the assault involved six or eight girls.
Dude has been on the job since November of 2015. Jubalo, who has daughters in the ninth and 10th grades at Decatur High, said he’s been raising these concerns for three and a half years – including the years his daughter attended Renfroe Middle School – and has been repeatedly ignored. He said he feels CSD would have a greater sense of urgency if his daughters were white.
“Had that been a young white girl, violently attacked by eight black girls, this wouldn’t be where it is,” Jubalo said.
Dude said he plans to meet with Jubalo soon to discuss the issue. Jubalo said some of the girls who attacked his daughter are still in school.
He said he stands by his remarks about the students who attacked his daughter.
“A big part of the problem is we’ve kept this behind closed doors and we’ve trusted the administration to do their jobs,” he said. ” … We’re going to be one big family and address this issue. We’re going to get the gang out of the school so those kids can focus on their education.”