New Baltimore Schools Executive Defends His Continued Activism

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DeRay Mckesson is a prominent Black Lives Matter activist. He’s also the interim human capital officer for Baltimore City schools. “Some” “critics” have a problem with that.

On Saturday, Mckesson was arrested at a protest in Baton Rouge over the police killing of Alton Sterling, an arrest he maintains was “unlawful.” On Tuesday, he was back in Baltimore for a school board meeting.

According to WJZ, “[s]ome are saying his activism doesn’t mix well with his role as a school official.” Who exactly? The coverage doesn’t say.

Fox Baltimore names only City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young as among “critics who have said that [Mckesson’s] work on the front lines of such protests may be inappropriate for a City Schools official.” But even Young said he ultimately respects the school board’s hiring decision, and has “no comment” on Mckesson’s arrest.

The district itself released a statement Monday voicing its support for Mckesson’s right to protest “[in] his private capacity as an individual involved in community activism.”

But to any critics — whether real or hypothetical — Mckesson has offered a response: “My commitment to kids is unwavering, and my commitment to social justice is unwavering, and those commitments are not in conflict.”


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  1. This blurb is silly in its effort to dismiss any criticism as coming from fake people or “critics” (gotta love the scare quotes). McKesson is making $165K / year. Allow me to repeat that – ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS PER YEAR. For perspective, the Mayor makes $171K. As a full time – not part-time – public employee being paid with tax dollars, he has an obligation to, you know, show up at work regularly and not have a have a side career as an activist or anything else that limits his ability to be there full time. And this “criticism” is not even raising other relevant issues here – for example, is the role of human capital officer – whatever that’s supposed to be – really the right place for a high profile activist? And how many folks were interviewed for this “job” and was 30 year old McKesson really the most qualified? As a “critic,” I can’t help but see this as merely a generous publicly funded stipend to someone who’s figuring out his next political move. Or maybe it’s a political pay-off to keep him quiet during the Freddie Gray mess. Only in Baltimore folks.

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