KIPP charter schools mourn parent shot and killed by police in Oklahoma

A protester holds a sign during a protest Monday in Tulsa, Okla., of the shooting death of Terence Crutcher. Crutcher was shot by a Tulsa Police officer Friday night. (Mike Simmons/Tulsa World via AP)

The shooting Friday evening of an unarmed motorist by police in Oklahoma is more than a news story for the KIPP schools. Terence Crutcher, the 40-year-old motorist killed by Tulsa police after his car broke down, is a KIPP parent. He leaves four children.

KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) is a national network of high achieving charter schools with eight metro Atlanta schools — three elementary schools, four middle and one high school — serving 3,250 students.

KIPP CEO Richard Barth addressed Crutcher’s death in a letter to staff and parents. He is asking all KIPP families to mark Crutcher’s death this Friday. Here is the letter:

Dear KIPP Team and Family,

By now, many of you have heard about Terence Crutcher, an unarmed African-American male who was fatally shot by police in Tulsa, OK., on Friday. As news outlets have reported, Mr. Crutcher was a beloved father and brother, a college student, and a singer in his church choir.

What you may not know is that Mr. Crutcher was also a KIPP Tulsa parent.

This is beyond a tragedy. It is an outrage. While Mr. Crutcher’s death hits home in the KIPP community, it is part of a pattern of violence that has gone on across this country for far too long. In my view, this is about fear – the senseless killing that can result from fear. Fear is what makes a police officer discharge their firearm on an unarmed person. And if a police officer is that fearful, they either need more training or they should not be a law enforcement officer. Full stop. We must demand this, for fear cripples us – all of us. For many of our KIPP families and students, the threat of police violence is a constant worry. There is a very real sense that no place is safe for black and brown bodies.

Before I share some thoughts on our collective response, I want to share a quick update on KIPP Tulsa. There are grief counselors on campus this week, and staff from the KIPP Foundation and KIPP Oklahoma City are on hand to lend support. School staff met this morning to start processing their reactions, and tomorrow students will read and talk about an adapted version of a CNN article. On Friday the school community will gather on the lawn and release balloons in a show of solidarity with the Crutcher family.

Andrew McCrae, our fearless leader of KIPP Tulsa, wants to thank all of the members of our nationwide KIPP team and family who have reached out in support. If you would like to reach out to the school, please contact KIPP Foundation Senior Relationship Manager Quinton Vance at

Now, for how we can harness the power of the KIPP community (and our own personal influence, for those of us in positions of privilege.) In my opening remarks at KIPP School Summit 2016, I said that we need make this part of the fabric of our work—to engage with it every day. Part of that is showing up on issues of social justice, of equity, and of equality.

In that spirit, I ask all of you to consider two things:

Act in solidarity with KIPP Tulsa this Friday, Sept. 23. This could involve releasing balloons, holding a moment of silence, posting on social media, or any other actions you see fit.

This is a systemic issue and will require public officials stepping up and promising to protect black lives. I support NAACP’s Pledge to Protect and Preserve Our Lives. Will you support it? What will you do?

And I would like to repeat what I said at KSS, and what I shared last week: get out and vote. And join the 12 KIPP regions hosting voter drives to get others to vote. If we don’t like something in America, we need to exercise our right to change it with our vote.

As a Team and Family, we laugh and we cry together. We live and we learn together. We celebrate and we mourn together. And we show up for each other, and with each other. KIPP is about learning and growing, moving toward a better world. We use education and schools to accomplish that lofty aim. And to do that, we must advocate to create safe and secure environments for our students to develop, and to achieve the better world we all want to see.



Reader Comments 0


"A beloved father of four who sang in the church choir and was shot after his car broke down"


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First of all, his car didn't "break down".  It was running, parked in the middle of the highway, while Crutcher was wondering about in an apparent drug induced stupor.

This wasn't his first song and dance with the police.  This was a guy who had a history of violence and resisting arrest.

1996 Shooting with intent to kill — Dismissed
2001 Petit larceny — Conviction
2004 Driving while suspended — Conviction
2005 Driving while suspended, resisting officer — Conviction
2006 Driving while suspended — Conviction
Driving with open container — Dismissed
2006 Trafficking in illegal drugs — Conviction. (He was also charged in that incident with assault on a police officer and resisting, but that was dismissed.)
2011 Public intoxication (while in prison for drug trafficking) — Conviction
2012 Public intoxication — Conviction
Obstructing an officer — Conviction
2013 DUI — Conviction
Resisting officer — Conviction
Open Container — Conviction
Failure to wear seatbelt — Conviction
Speeding — Conviction

Once again, this was a senseless death that could have been avoided by SIMPLY OBEYING THE LAWFUL COMMANDS OF THE POLICE OFFICER.


The issue of police brutality will only get worst as more people swear off entering police work as a career leaving poorer qualified people to apply and that is where the City of Atlanta finds itself today


It seems we have idiots who would rather focus on Black Lives Matter, which is a front group most African Americans do not support, and black on black crime, or how many white folks get shot, than where the focus should really be:

Out of control policing and law enforcement.

I guess since Mr. Crutcher was not a thug or engaged in any criminal activity, it helps your small psyche to constantly be in denial.



This isn't really a racial issue as US cops trained in Israeli methods murder whites too.  It's just that whites don't loot and disrupt cities when it happens.  The silly thing about the black lives matter business is that they apparently don't matter much to blacks themselves, when one of their own kills one.


But it's not a racial issue? Please read your comment, and rethink your logic...



As soon as this election cycle is over,BLM will join Occupy Wall Street in George Soros' dumpster.In four years, some other equally phony "movement" will spring up like weeds after a summer rain,also designed to stir up racial hatred for political gain.


On average, someone is shot in Chicago every two hours. 

But because those shootings mostly involve black-on-black crime their victims won't get an article commemorating them in this space.



We've lost more Americans in Chicago than we have in Iraq and Afghanistan.


If you do not live in Chicago nor visit there frequently, then there is no way in hell you know that "statistic" rings true or not. Furthermore, what the hell does that have to do with this case right here? Nothing


Thank you to Maureen for posting this.This letter should shame all of you charter haters that spew nonsense here every chance you get. Charter schools are a force for good and I agree with Mr. Barth.Thoughts and prayers to the family of a man that was (what looks to me ) a victim of bad police procedure and himself the victim of a crime.I don't want to see vigilante justice here-I want the cops involved to get a fair trial by a jury of their peers and if found guilty-punished.



Follow up- The officer has been charged with first degree manslaughter (9/22). Maybe this guy's family will get some justice after all.