A teen mother gunned down days before graduation. Principal rises to her defense in fiery fashion.

A photo of Myneishia Johnson and her son from the memorial page on the website of her Memphis high school.

A teenage mother was shot and killed in downtown Memphis early Sunday morning after someone opened fire in a crowd. Myneishia Johnson was scheduled to graduate this weekend from Booker T. Washington High School where the 18-year-old was an honor student and athlete. (You can read about the shooting here in the Memphis paper.)

The brokenhearted principal is allowing Myneishia’s toddler to come on stage to accept his mother’s diploma, a decision that prompted this critical email to Principal Alisha Coleman-Kiner.

The death of any young person is tragic. But to allow someone else to walk across the stage to accept her diploma is one thing but then give it to her young infant is another.

What are you thinking? The attitude and culture of the inner city youth need to change and doing this it won’t’ you’re acknowledging and celebrating this young child whose mother was tragically killed when in all fairness probably should have been home taking care of that young infant who now has no mother and quite frankly don’t know who this father is. Food for thought.”

But what’s making news is the principal’s stinging rebuttal to the emailer on Facebook:

Good morning!

Alisha Coleman-Kiner

Alisha Coleman-Kiner

Thank you so much for your unsolicited ‘food’ for thought. After regurgitating the washback you just emailed (as it was definitely not ‘food’), I offer the following appetizer, entrée, and dessert for you to consider:

  1. Never email a high school Principal, who is also an English teacher, without checking the grammar and spelling in said email. In case no one ever told you, these errors sincerely diminish your validity. ‪#‎2Timothy2:15 #‎Study
  2. Never send a formal email of rebuke without first “fact checking’ your claims. That’s something else your English teacher should have taught you. For example, who told you that no one knew who the father is? Where were you when he couldn’t stand under the grief on Sunday at the candlelight vigil? How surprised would you be to learn that both the paternal and maternal grandparents have been actively involved in this child’s life since he arrived? ‪#‎Proverbs6:16-19 ‪#‎Abominable
  3. Stereotyping, as a persuasive device, is an ineffective use of propaganda that allows the person using the device to draw lines around groups of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people. When you talk about people from the 3rd person point-of-view (‘the attitude and culture of the inner city youth needs…”), you turn those people into objects, which can then strip them of human rights. Side note: I had my first college degree and had been married for some years before I had my daughter, and, even I went out every now and then – without my child. How is it that you know that my student was an irresponsible parent, again? #‎Deuteronomy10:18 ‪#‎GodDefends
  4. Just in case you didn’t know, having a baby is NOT the sin. Pre-marital sex, if we’re counting, is the actual sin. God loves babies. In fact, whenever there is a problem in the world, HE sends a baby with the answer (i.e. Jesus). Because my student was such a great person, maybe God decided to use her as a conduit between her son and the world to provide an answer. That would help make sense (especially for me) of all of this foolishness. Side note: Pre-marital sex may not be YOUR sin, but it only takes one sin to send you to hell, and God never said that sin was only pre-marital sex, and HE loves babies.#‎Jeremiah1:5 ‪#‎Psalm8:2 ‪#‎PurposeInPain
  5. You have NO idea how hard my student was working to overcome every single obstacle in her life. She worked a job every day, she kept her OWN baby (we had to ask her if we could keep him), she played on the basketball team, she did well in all of her Honor’s classes, she kept up with her younger siblings and made them come to school, and, most importantly, she NEVER missed one day of school. There are other issues that she had to deal with that I refuse to share, but just know that I know a whole slew of adults who would be in an insane asylum if they had to live with one tenth of her issues. #‎Matthew12:36,37 ‪#‎EveryWord
  6. This baby has only lived one year. He will NEVER know his mother. He will only have what we have shared, the videos that have been recorded, and what people have written to begin to understand the love she had for him. We WILL add this to his treasure chest of memories. #‎Matthew25:40 ‪#‎WeLoveKylan
  7. Because SEVEN is the number of completion, and symbolically the number of days my student had left to walk across the stage when her life was AGGRESSIVELY snatched away from her, my last point is: Stay. In. Your. Lane. This sweet baby meant too much to me for me to remain professional if I receive any more emails from judgmental folk who sit in the air looking “down” on folk they don’t deserve to sit next to. #‎Matthew1:7 #‎AlishaKiner‪#‎NotInTheMood

 

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

103 comments
Teresa Horton
Teresa Horton

I don't understand how some ignorant person could email the principal with that ignorant mess so what they think about that show teen mom some of girls on drugs going to jail there not married half of the guys don't help take care of the babies and if you didn't notice no black girls on the show so it's alright for them to have children not being married drop out of school don't work but this young lady taking care of business in school on the honor roll working taking care of her baby.

Barnette Burton
Barnette Burton

The principle is compassionate loving woman. Thank God for her. I'm so sick and tired of hearing all the hate and stereotyping of others. God bless her family.

Vickie Cox Edmondson
Vickie Cox Edmondson

I support the gesture if it is consistent with their policy that a family member can accept on behalf of a deceased student.

Pam White
Pam White

All I can say is Amen. And to judge mental I hope you remember All of this when sin knocks at your door because it is coming. Those not my anointed and anointed she was.

Robert Turner
Robert Turner

Just waiting on someone to blame it on the white man. Come on victims don't disappoint me.

Nahom Amanieal
Nahom Amanieal

AJC tks admin of AJC. \U0001f440, my iq 111, and u?... click here ~~> http://goo.gl/730Anv ... Breaking news, watchdog journalism and everything in between. If Atlanta is talking about it, the AJC has the story. Tks ad: AJCBreaking news, watchdog journalism and everything in between. If Atlanta is talking about it, the AJC has the story.

angelicrealtor
angelicrealtor

Thank you for sharing and thank God for this Principal!!! We need more Educators that think like her. My sincere condolences and prayers go out to her family and loved ones. I will REPOST. Blessings, Actress Dana L. Harris, Atlanta, GA.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

Comments below criticizing the principal for her religious comments in her rebuttal seem well-taken to me, since she was replying in  her official capacity. Not only is there the "Jesus" paragraph, but the aside that it only takes one sin to send a person to hell...and the use of the Protestant Bible throughout. AnotherComment points this out below as a Catholic, for both the Catholic Bible and the Hebrew Bible are different from the King James Version familiar to Protestants.  (The Catholic Bible, among other things, includes the Apocrypha or 7 extra books in the Old Testament as the KJV does not.)


It's the sense that there is a standard form of religion which everyone in this school follows that seems offensive in the response of this public school principal.

TERESA
TERESA

Amen to you Mrs. Kiner!!!


Aunt T
Aunt T

Maureen- from a veteran teacher, thank you for sharing this. This educator's defense of her student reminds me why I teach. When you teach, you are invested in your students beyond what people outside of education can understand. All of my students regardless of age are my babies. 


For those of you agreeing with the original email, try reading the article about the shooting. First of all, no motive has been given for the shooting. This student may just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. You don't know why she was out, either. 


Second, the number one solution to many of the problems we see among teenagers across the board is education. Even with the odds stacked against her, this student got that. She is not being celebrated for how she died. She is being celebrated for how she lived.


Moreover, her classmates and others need to see the true cost of violence. In this case, a motherless toddler accepting his late mother's diploma is a powerful image. If one teenager sees the ceremony or reads the story and remembers not to put yourself at risk or not to resort to violence, it is more than worth it. 


Finally, some food for thought. I taught at a private high school early in my career. Late one year, a Caucasian  student from the suburbs was out very late when he went with a friend on what turned out to be a pot pick up. The police and others determined he was in no way involved in the deal, but something went wrong, shots were exchanged, and my student - 17 years old - was fatally wounded. I saw surveillance film. I could only think "he must have been so scared." 

Despite protests, our head of school decided to remove all photos of the young man from the year book and graduation display. Many faculty argued repeatedly that students needed a reminder of the result of poor choices. The following year, we lost another student and had another paralyzed in shootings. That was almost 20 years ago, and I still wonder if the students had seen the true cost - a classmate reduced to a series of photos - would it have been different?




MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Aunt T


I believe, that one day in the future, that toddler will value the image of himself accepting his deceased mother's diploma, and cherish it. 


As a retired educator, I particularly commend the principal for sharing these thoughts:


"Stereotyping, as a persuasive device, is an ineffective use of propaganda that allows the person using the device to draw lines around groups of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people. When you talk about people from the 3rd person point-of-view ('the attitude and culture of the inner city youth needs…'), you turn those people into objects, which can then strip them of human rights."

Freethinkethman
Freethinkethman

This narrative could just as easily been titled, " Another senseless muder of a black American by a black American." Daily I read news feeds of "shots fired in a crowd" and it almost always involves blacks. This is the 64000 lb. elephant in the room no one in the media is willing

to discuss. When is this country, especially black America, going to start having an honest

conversation with itself? And a post below (3 out of 4 children born have no father) is not quite accurate. It is statistically, 3 out of 4 black children born have no responsible father.

An epidemic folks.

Starik
Starik

@Freethinkethman Black teenagers have been arrested for giving a false name because they use the one belonging to mamma's current boyfriend, not the one on the birth certificate.

redweather
redweather

@Freethinkethman Black Americans are killing each other at a slightly higher rate when compared to white Americans. 

According to statistics compiled by the FBI, of the reported 2,491 black homicide victims in 2013, 90% of the time the shooter was black. In the same year there were 3,005 white homicide victims, and 83% of the time the shooter was white. So not a big difference.

However, whites account for approximately 75% of the country's population (241 million), while blacks account for only about 13% (41 million). Which means a black American is approximately four times as likely to be a homicide victim as a white American. Definitely food for thought.

Jonathan Jones
Jonathan Jones

Y'all better start reporting these fools and get them out your hood.

Terry Thomas
Terry Thomas

Why was a girl who got pregnant allowed to attend school?

Stephanie Burkes
Stephanie Burkes

She worked & had her own place. It may not seem like it but she was trying to improve her life. & by the way there are adults who have "pre-marital" sex & others who don't believe in marriage at all.

Terry Thomas
Terry Thomas

Allowing a pregnant girl to attend school with other girls sends a message that pre-marital sex is alright, when it is not.

Christy Watson Harwell
Christy Watson Harwell

Georgia Luckett Champion you are absolutely wrong... You are implying that he has an education and someone would actually put them self in a position to depend on him... That's giving him a little too much credit!\U0001f602\U0001f602\U0001f602

Stephanie Craft
Stephanie Craft

Wait. Did I miss something? Have we have suddenly been transported to 1952? FYI, dude, Facebook didn't exist them, you need to get on. Bless your heart.

Ernestine Thomas
Ernestine Thomas

The same reason America aloud you to live here and ask dum question !!!!!!

Christy Watson Harwell
Christy Watson Harwell

Terry Thomas well would you have preferred her to send a message that dropping out is better? How about abortion, since you wanna go the religious route, shouldn't any good Christian accept her regardless? Aren't the back woods missing you yet?

SCassady
SCassady

So she should remain uneducated and get on welfare  Then you would be posting about another lazy n-word living on your tax dollars.  She was good student.  My God and I bet you call yourself a good Christian.  God forgives but maybe you don't. 


PW Cunard
PW Cunard

Lord somebody come get him and take him back to 1900. Im hoping we somehow misunderstood his question, smh.

Wayne Welch
Wayne Welch

That's like saying it's wrong to buy my kids crayons because your kids eat them

Juanita Fortune
Juanita Fortune

Because your kids have a show called teen mother where they are glorified

Sabrina Pruitt
Sabrina Pruitt

Just because she got pregnant don't mean she shouldn't be allowed to go to school.

SE Ashby
SE Ashby

Lol what planet do you live on Terry Thomas? Believe me those girls probably know more about sex then you do. Oddly enough Terry just because someone is doing something doesn't mean you will do it.

Starik
Starik

The real story isn't the shooting; how about the 16 year old daddy in Griffin, which is closer to home. Another honor student/athlete, what else?

concernedoldtimer
concernedoldtimer

This principal serves an award! Prayers for friends and fsmily.

al1
al1

She misspelled "Honors" after berating the original emailer about spelling.

al1
al1

@redweather I also found the use of hashtags irritating. Just my opinion.

redweather
redweather

@al1 Now I guess I know why my college students don't know when to use the apostrophe.