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Putting her money where her mouth is, Cobb counselor resigns over ban of CRT


There is a well-known saying that many are familiar with, “put your money where your mouth is.” Well, a Cobb Schools counselor did just that as she told the Cobb School system to take this job and shove it.

Jennifer Susko, a counselor at Mableton Elementary School, turned in her letter of resignation this week. The outspoken critic of the district’s handling of racial issues resigned in what she said was a protest of the school board’s ban on the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT), an academic concept that asserts racism is not just an individual prejudice but also systemic in America’s legal systems and institutions.

In her resignation letter, Susko took aim at the school board’s adoption of a ban on CRT in Cobb County Schools. The school board joined neighboring Cherokee County in adopting this ban. The vote was along party lines with the four Cobb school board Republicans — Chair Randy Scamihorn, Vice Chair David Banks and members David Chastain and Brad Wheeler — voting to pass the ban. During that meeting, Susko organized a rally supporting the teachings of critical race theory, which was described as an event for “antiracism and for teachers being permitted to teach accurate U.S. history.” Susko’s letter also accuses Cobb Schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale, as well as Scamihorn and Banks, of failing to address racial issues and inequities in the district.

In her resignation, Susko said the ban means the district can now penalize her for “examining and addressing issues that directly harm my students.” Before the ban, she said she’d received “only excellent evaluations,” including national awards and recognition, which have left the district “unable to penalize me professionally to date.” Susko wrote, “It has been made very clear that I will be watched closely and disciplined for adhering to my ethical obligations and for implementing an anti-racist framework. Such intimidation and threats against my vocation and livelihood are toxic. I cannot spend the entire school year justifying my integrity and performance at the expense of serving my students.”

Since the district’s ban, Susko says she has been the target of “bullying, harassment and defamation of character.” Her personal information had been posted online, prompting recommendations from community and colleagues that she install a security system at her home. “Fear and political allegiance have created this dangerous environment,” she said. “It threatens my safety and my ability to provide my students with what they are due.” Susko also noted that her beliefs and aforementioned ethical obligations were not hers alone as she pointed to guidance from the American School Counselor Association, which includes a summary of the organization’s position on topics of race:

“School counselors work toward cultural competence and engage in anti-racist actions by advocating to change racist policies, procedures, practices, guidelines and laws contributing to inequities in students’ academic, career and social/emotional development.” The ASCA’s guidance says racism “remains a part of society in the United States and exists throughout all of our institutions,” leading to inequities in the education system.

“To actively dismantle racist policies, procedures and practices within education, school counselors must embrace their ethical responsibilities within roles as social justice advocates, leaders and change agents to ensure all students, specifically students from racially diverse backgrounds, develop in healthy and successful ways in their academic, career and social/emotional development.”

Susko closed her letter saying she would continue her advocacy. “Therefore, as a post 6 resident (and taxpayer!) who is no longer constrained by the suppression and censorship inflicted on employees, I will speak out even more candidly against racism in schools, campaign to flip folks out of school board seats who do not deserve to be there, and organize with Black and Brown families as long as they ask me to in their efforts to be heard.”


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