Most people understand the phrase "crack the whip" means getting people to work harder but a school board member in Washington state has run into accusations of racism for using the term.
Paul Wagemann, a school board member at Clover Park School District, was discussing the poor graduation rates and suggested schools need to “crack the whip” to improve the numbers, The College Fix reported.
Wagemann used the phrase at a Dec. 14 virtual board member only to draw the ire of Taneisha Lyons, who is black. She is also his recent opponent in a school board election and started a petition drive to demand his ouster.
Reacting to the controversy, Matt Lamb of The College Fix says the phrase he used has no racial meaning despite Lyons’ claims otherwise.
“The school board should be focusing on maybe more important issues,” he adds, “than the fact someone didn't like the term he used."
One good place to start is the graduation rate, which is the topic that created the controversy and currently leaves 10 to 11 percent of Clover Park high schoolers with no diploma.
The College Fix also reports the vice president for diversity, Filma Fontanilla, claimed she was "hurt, appalled, and disgusted" by Wagemann's remark.
The school board president, Marty Schafter, has said no action was taken against Wagemann at a special meeting held December 21.