Parents concerned over controversial rapper’s school song

Every day in the inner city, it’s a struggle for parents to keep their children safe.  So when parents and teachers saw some videos from a local rapper who performed at their school, they were very concerned.

Parents and teachers at Beasley Elementary on the south side didn’t know what to think when a rapper, who wrote a song for their school, turned up on you tube smoking pot and shooting guns.   Further investigation found the rapper is the principal’s fiancé– raising all sorts of other questions.

And the kids were thrilled!  A local rap star named J.O. was singing at their school!  Tiffaney Boxley’s fifth grader was no exception.  He couldn’t wait to tell her.

School Song cotroversy

In 2011,   J.O. and two other rappers wrote a song for the school called “We Can Do It.”  The song was about education and reaching your potential. They made a video for it that you can find on YouTube.  At first, Tiffaney thought it was encouraging.  But when she looked at other J.O. videos, she was outraged by what she found– and what her 5th grade son could also find.

J.O. sings about marijuana, guns, violence, bling, and sex.  The videos are filled with profanity.

The local school council approved $4,000 to pay future boy music group for the school song.  Principal Kim Brasfield said it would be a morale booster.  What most LSC members didn’t know at the time, and what Brasfield didn’t tell them, was the principal is engaged to J.O. and they have two children together who go to Beasley. J.O., whose real name is Joey Carpenter, is listed in a work order as one of the writers of the song, although he says he never got paid.

He sent a notarized fax dated just three days ago.   J.O. said he just wanted to do something positive for the kids.

Kim Brasfield is a second year principal who, in 2005, won the golden apple award as a reading teacher.

There is also video of Brasfield dancing in the school song video.  She’s been principal at Beasley since 2011 and getting a school song made was one of the first things she tried to do.

Laura Thompson is a former teacher at Beasley, who was not hired after her probationary period.  She says the school used to have a partnership with the symphony orchestra and it had an exceptional dance group, dissolved now because of lack of funds.  She’s concerned about the students being exposed to this kind of “art.”

The $4,000 for the song came out of the school’s 2011 internal account, the money raised for it through fundraising. It’s the school’s safety net.  It had $100,000 in it when principal Brasfield got there.  At the last LSC meeting she reported there was only $14,000 left– that’s $10 per student fort the rest of the school year.

So programs were cut, like the before school program.  But just last week a sponsor came forward to pay for it.  The school’s on line reading program raz-kids has been cut.  Beasley academic center was one of the top schools in the city but now they are a level two school.   All of this plus dropping test scores, fourth grade reading, for example is down 16%, has parents and teachers frustrated.

When WGN tried to talk to Kim Brasfield and the Chicago Public School District but neither wanted to talk about the story right now.  The Chicago Public School District did release a statement reading in part: “CPS is looking into these allegations.”

The Beasley local school council is also looking for answers.  According to a source an audit will be requested at the next public meeting on February 19th.

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40 comments

  • Parent

    This principal was in over her head from the first day. I hope the district is able to find someone who can return the school to its glory days!

  • UnderratedPG32

    Every one wants to blame Kim but we are all at fault. People are naturally scared of change, so as humans most of us would rather go against change instead of finding ways to work with it. i've voulintered at a few schools and its all the same. Parents not picking kids up on time, not trying to find solutions for problems with their children, and im not saying its all children. yet these are the same children who are on the news hanging on corners, throwing up gang signs, and destructive for no reason. some may have been on buses or trains where you can see the parent just picked up their child smelling like drugs or alcohol. but we dont say a word, dont flag down the police for child endangerment or anything, im sure it as her best intentions to bring life into a place where the soul of happiness was drained completely out and fresh ideas to a place that was stuck in the past.

    • BegToDiffer

      I understand your position Underrated, however I hate to break it to you but the principal is at fault for making a poor decision in spite of her intentions. In this day and time where our children are being harmed and killed left and right, when a once top tier school is now a level 2 and reading scores have decreased 16%, this was not the route the school and the children needed for a morale booster. Other activities, some at no cost to the school could have been done. Poor leadership on the principals part.

    • mykidfuture

      WE NEED TO MAKE SURE AS PARENTS THAT OUR CHILDREN EDUCATION IS MOST OF IMPORTANCE IF KIM HAS MISMANGED SCHOOL FUNDS IN THE THE WRONG WAY & ALSO THE SCHOOL HAS FALLING TO A LEVEL TWO SCHOOL SHE NEEDS TO BE GONE OR GET HER MIND ON GETTING THE SCHOOL BACK TO WHERE IS NEEDS TO BE!!!!!!

  • Jonathan

    Honey, let's do something positive! Let's teach them all about being a gangbanger, how cool guns are, how to shoot people and do the right drugs, you know? Become popular and go to prison!! Hone,y, we owe it to the kids to really mess em up and make money for ourselves!!!

  • TchrView

    Kim was trying to motivate the students, since they love rap music, I like some of it and I'm a "seasoned" educator. I have called half the parents in ONE of five same level classes and behavior has changed very little; I get "What was the other child doing", "My child doesn't do that, you sure you got the right one", My child doesn't do that, had to be someone else doing something to him/her.
    So parent support is lacking. If we can lure the children in to education by using what they like, rap, no uniform day, skating party, etc., maybe we can work around the parents.
    "Returning the school to it's former glory". All the students TESTED in at that time and if they did not work out due to grades or behavior, they were banished. For MANY years now, if a student is suspended, the parent goes to the District to complain and they send the student back to school–no consequences, except the teacher may come under scrutiny. Teachers complain that only half the class is turning in homework; parents: "Why are you giving them all that homework", "told me he/she did it", I ain't got time to check everything they do". Back in the "Glory days", A parent would come and plead with the teacher to accept the homework late because there was a death in the family or something very serious.
    In returning Beasley to "Former Glory" half the students would have to go back to their neighborhood
    schools and we could not have an "Inclusion" of LD and BD students.
    How do you know something won't work if you don't try something different? Just like our government, the RepubliCONs want "business as usual" and the people voting for Obama want change.
    Well, teachers at Beasley wanted change and that's what they voted for Kim, to work a miracle; now many of them want to "go back", go back to what. Only a few of us, actually, know about the "Glory Days", the rest should be used to the turmoil in the schools.
    Since trying to reach students on their level isn't working, the entire SCHOOL SYSTEM has to REACH the PARENTS, teachers are nothing without the parents. Parents attitude about school and teachers has, most definately, INFLUENCED the students. The parent will come to school and curse out the teacher or principal. 99% of the parents use profanity on their children, in public, they buy the explicit CD's and DVD's, take their children to the "R" rated movies, buy the "stolen" version of the movie to play at home, with the kids; so why should OJ's other rap songs be offensive. All the other rappers were made famous by these same parents and grandparents buying the "explicit" version of their CD's, they wouldn't dare buy the "kids" version. Before the superbowl, kids were saying, in the classroom, :"my dad said we gon git us a big ass tv for the superbowl".
    Teachers' hands are tied, we have to depend on parents, we can't chastise them, sending them to the Office is a joke (their hands are tied, also), calling parents is a hit or miss. We're not psychology majors, we're education majors, so it's just so much we can think of to keep law & order and make children learn.
    So Kim was trying her best to change things at Beasley and I like her for that.

  • IM ON THE INSIDE

    AS A STAFF MEMBER, PARENT AND ALUMNI OF THE SCHOOL'S "GLORY DAYS" LET ME FIRST LET YOU IN ON SOMETHING—–THE LSC VOTES THE PRINCIPAL IN NOT THE TEACHERS!!!! AND WE ALL KNOW IN THE "INTERVIEW" PROCESS WHO DOESN'T "SHINE" SHE HAS A GOLDEN APPLE WHAT DO YOU EXPECT????? AND AS FAR AS HER "TRYING TO CHANGE THINGS AT BEASLEY" WHAT IS THERE TO CHANGE FROM LEVEL 1????? CHANGE THE TECHNOLOGY OR LACK THEREOF IN THE SCHOOL, CHANGE STRATEGIES USED TO REACH THE STUDENTS THAT AREN'T ON TASK, BUT CHANGE THE "GLORY DAYS" NO? WHY? DOES THE SCHOOL NOT NEED TO REMAIN TITLED "THE SCHOOL OF DISTINCTION." MORE LIKE THE SCHOOL OF DISFUNCTION!!!

  • Denise

    I was very disappointed when i heard the the school was begin talked about in the media. I have nieces & a nephew that attends here and i pray that GOD turns some things are in this school because there are some very very bright students @ Beasley and we dont want are children lead in the wrong direction of life. We are trying to protect our babies from all the violences here in the city already.

  • cONCERNED

    The only changes I expected from the new administration, were higher standards, better technology and other improvements to the Beasley curiculum. Any changes that are negative are unacceptable. Kids are exposed to enough negative influences. If the current administration is not able to take Beasley to the next level, then they need to go.

  • Rio

    If JO wanted to do something positive how about helping out at the school for free!!!! Talking to these young boys telling them how important getting a good education is the way too go. No he didn’t do that him and Kim decided a song is what our kids need. He provided the song she provided the money together they spent made out!!!! # always follow the money

    • KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

      HE DID NOT GET PAID! THE GROUP GOT PAID! HE OFFERRED A FEW LINES AS GUIDANCE FOR THEM AND AS A PROUD BEASLEY PARENT. HIS NAME WAS INCLUDED AS WRITERS BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ADD A FEW SENTENCES OR WORDS TO A SONG!

  • sharong4

    From what I can read, the negativity was posted on Youtube, not at the school. What's the big deal? Most of these children listen to rap anyway. Who the principal is engaged to isn't anyone's busines. Something positive was trying to be done for the school, now everyone is trying to make it seem like there was a crime committed. She didn't receive the Golden Award for nothing. As far as Ms Thompson is concerned, maybe she wasn't qualified to teach after her probationary period. What is she not telling? Maybe she wasn't a good teacher or wanted the pricipal's job.

  • Concernedmomof4

    As a former student of Beasley, from the "glory days" this would have been unacceptable. Very disappointing to hear that money to fund children's education is being mis-managed and as a parent very disappointed that I am now having second thoughts about send my small children there. Division 1 to Division 2 is definitely change but not the type of change needed for these children.

  • Anonomynous

    Most people are smart enough to check Laura Thompson’s Credentials out on the ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION’s WEBSITE FOR THEMSELVES!!! What Ms Thompson did not tell was that she was retaliated on by Principal Brasfield be she expressed support for a far better male role model for our BLACK CHILDEN!!! Just like BRASFIELD ABUSED her power with schools Money, she also ABUSED HER HIRE AND FIRE Authority!!! Who knows, maybe had she left Thompson in the 4th Grade instead of Retaliating and Placing her in KG, the 4th grade scores may not have dropped 16%. After All, Most parents know the only reason Ms Thompson was on a probationary period in the first place was because she left the system at one point. Since then she returned to Graduate School and PASSED ALL 3 of the required teaching EXAMS! Prior to that, Ms. Thompson taught and sub-taught in CPS since 1989. In fact, she started out as a Gym Teacher at Marshall High School…. Check Track Coach Thompson out first before you condem her!!! Ask the students she’s taught over the last 23 years!!! the best thing about Ms. Brasfield terminated her is that now she is free to have a voice in his controversal matter when other teachers are not free to comment! By the way, this story is not about Ms. Thompson!

  • Wondering??

    Tell me this! Why is this principal still being the principal of Beasley Academic Center? She should have been escorted out immediately while CPS conduct a full investigation of the firings/displacement of staff and other allegations are fully investigated. Dig deeper! There is much more to this story!!! Go out and talk to parents and staff!!!

    • ACTIVE PARENT

      Tht's becuz the principals for these superior academic centers in the "heart of the hood" are intentionally being destroyed by CPS!!! Has anyone noticed that allllllll the schools that are receiving academic notice, the principals hve been or are being replaced with ones tht dont have the best interest of the children or their quality of education in mind?!!! It's a popularity contest and these so-called "educated" people are messing up what the "involved" parents are/were fighting for. Beasley didn't get to where it's at because the parents of long ago didn't care. But they stopped when their children started having children. Don't be too hard on the principal, everyone is quick to point the finger bt what you need to ask yourself- Is what am I contributing to make a difference? Don't just drop your children off at school, go in the building; get a feel for staff whether their your child's teacher or not. YOU as a parent need to know who is left in control of the information that your child receives.

  • Darlene johnson

    This is a shame how this young principals do not what they are doing its the same at the school I am at thePrincipal has messed up our school we were on level three when she got there and we are still level three I am on the council and we are getting rid of our problem

  • Ms. Collins

    I knew a teacher that worked at Beasley, she left because she saw the school was going down (was just frustrated) and wanted to keep her repatriation in-tack. So I hope that principal get what she has coming to her. Get Kim Brasfield out of there before it's to late!!

    • KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

      do you mean REPUTATION? I am confused… repatriate: (1) to bring or send back (a person, especially a prisoner of war, a refugee, etc.) to his or her country or land of citizenship. (2) (of profits or other assets) to send back to one's own country

  • SweetSweet

    I would like to know where are the fathers of these children? Why is it that anyone has to come and have a talk with any children about doing the right theing when they have parents. If the father is not involved, then where is he. Let's take the blame off of any and everyone else and let's start to take responsiblity for what we allow our children to witness day in and day out that has nothing to do with being positive. How many of your little girls and little boys can know all the recite 2Chains lyrics and any other rapper that they get to freely watch in your homes? How many parents actually go to the school to "VOLUNTEER" with the thought of actually going in to be of positive help and again I ask you where are the "MEN" in our young folks lives and why are they not the being held accountable for being the one to speak to their children? *We must recognize fault and failure where it and it seems that a few people have a grudge to fill, but I see the mark is at the Change and not the facts of what the problem really seems to be! Please please please let's do better.

    • Sympathetic

      Please do not blast a fatherless home because everyone's situation is different. My children are w/o their father because he wanted to beat on me. So don't beat up on the women. And as for the ones that are just LAZY, then yes have a field day. But you will NEVER get black people to come together on anything unless there is money involved. Sad but true and I agree parent do need to be more proactive but that should have started waaaaaay before we ended up with the kind of "crap" they call music these days. Even the ones that are educated are acting a fool for the sake of a dollar. Pay attention

  • d.mccoy

    Shame on some of the parents and other peoples that's blaming the Principal, Teachers and j.o. for the right and wrong of their child…they don't run your house and they can't make your child do his or her home work at your house, go to bed so they can get up for school, stop sailing drugs, stop gang-banging on their block, stop drinking alcohol, smoking, having sex at your house and going to jail. Parents you should be held accountable for that. It’s not just your problem it's America problem. So stand up and help the Principal, Teachers and J.O help the kids-do some positive for the kid volunteer at Beasley School or any school show your support.

  • Aya

    This story is all over the place and kind of suspicious. The rapper didn't promote his other songs. If the children were cheering for him, they must have known him prior to the school song, which has nothing to do with the principal. Parents should be regulating what their children watch on youtube anyway. I am also confused about the money. If you don't know how a school runs you are shocked about the 100,000 in 2011, but she is suppose to spend the money on the school and running a school isn't cheap especially with cutbacks. They listed the dance group and online reading program as dissolved but they don't say how. I guess we are suppose to insinuate that it was from the principal. But the CPS IS CUTTING PROGRAMS and schools all over the place so is it really a shock that they are gone. Lastly I find it interesting that they found a disgruntled teacher who got laid off to "express" her concern for the school, I guess she is. This story sounds bogus. I don't know who did what but if you pay close attention to the reporting on this story it's all over he place and the "concerns" are left open-ended with no real proofs of anything.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently, time does not allow a reporter to cover every detail when a story first break! Obviously, it did not clarify that, for the last 3 school years, due to Budget Cuts, Beasley has not hired a Certified Dance Instructor. The current dancers and their partnerships are now sponsored by a regular Ed Teacher. She happens to also be, unless it’s proven otherwise, an acting gym teacher. No, the dance program is not disolved. “The Kids From Beasley” does not get the full-time dedication it got in the past. A good portion of the day, the dance room goes unused.

    When you find a teacher,on staff at Beasley, willing to speak TRUTH on this story,and risk back lash from that thuggish Principal, PLEASE LET THE REPORTER KNOW!

    • KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

      How about this yes the gym teacher host a dance program, but Beasley also has at least 2-3 OTHER dance programs including Joffrey ballet…

  • KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

    FIRST OFF, HALF OF THE ARTICLE IS FALSE AND THE OTHER HALF IS MISCONSTRUED! The information was "leaked" by individual(s) who are working with a vengeful, alternative motive. I don't have the patience to go line by line pointing out the inaccuracies like Raz kids being cut…not true… 14k in Internal Accounts… not true…. As for Beasley being restored to "its past glory" is just that! The PAST! In the past one had TO TAKE A TEST TO GET ACCEPTED! that is no longer the case for Beasley's Magnet side. To enter Beasley Magnet all you have to do is fill out an application and wait for your number to be called… As far as JO and the group who did get paid to create the song based off a few lines JO wrote as A PROUD BEASLEY PARENT, what they do outside of Beasley is just that! What do you do outside of your child's school? Curse, drink, smoke, what?… Anyone with an ounce of sense can tell this article is geared toward defaming of the school's principal, not that of the real concerns and issues of our children! PRIORITIES people! Do you not know how to arrange them? "If you want to make the world a better place, take a look in the mirror and make a change!" ~ Micheal Jackson P.S. You should not display your ignorance by commenting on things that you know not of… Be informed come to the PUBLIC LSC (Local School Counsel) meetings, if you are a parent there is also PAC (Parent Advisory Counsel). (all schools have a LSC, all may not have PAC)

  • rights

    how can one reach the reporter and laura thompson to share and discuss retaliation tactics continuously used by principal Brasfield?

  • Anonymous

    Please feel free to contact Laura Thompson regarding your important concerns of retaliation and harassment of staff members by the Principal of Beasley School. Please email her, in C/O, WGN/Tribune Reporter, Marcella Raymond at: mraymond@tribune.com

  • Anonymous

    PLEASE FILL FREE TO CONTACT LAURA THOMPSON REGARDING YOUR IMPORTANT CONCERNS OF CONTINOUS RETALIATION AND HARASSMENT/BULLYING ETC., OF BEASLEY STAFF MEMBERS BY PRINCIPAL KIM BRASFIELD. PLEASE EMAIL HER, IN C/O, WGN/REPORTER MARCELLA RAYMOND AT: mraymond@tribune.com


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