Waukee Northwest High School principal Fairouz Bishara-Rantisi sent a statement to parents of students on Wednesday addressing reports from concerned parents that she told students they could not have a USA theme day for homecoming week and allegedly even said “of course the white girl would suggest a USA day.”
Bishara-Rantisi’s email to parents addressed the quote:
“The quote used in the article is an inaccurate representation of the conversation,” she wrote. “Verified by the parties involved.”
But notice what she didn’t tell parents — something like ‘the quote used in the article is something I never said.’
Instead, it just says the quote used in the article is an “inaccurate representation of the conversation.” More on that later…
We emailed and called Bishara-Rantisi on Tuesday before publishing the story but she did not respond. We said we would publish an update when we heard from her.
Bishara-Rantisi told parents she met last week with the student council to discuss themes for homecoming dress-up days.
“After that meeting, some students expressed to me their concerns about having a USA-themed day, as well as feeling their thoughts were not being heard by the larger group,” she wrote. “A follow-up conversation was requested by another group of students wanting to advocate for this theme day.”
Bishara-Rantisi said she felt they were in good position to move forward.
“We decided to have the USA-themed day later in the year to re-energize our students with a spirit day that we know is appreciated,” she wrote. “The quote used in the article is an inaccurate representation of the conversation, verified by the parties involved.”
She said administration has not been part of decisions when it comes to theme nights for football games.
“It is our understanding that a red, white and blue theme is what is being planned for this Friday night’s home football game,” she wrote.
Bishara-Rantisi admitted the school has not been reciting the Pledge of Allegiance the “first days of school.”
“We were trying to integrate a recording into our new intercome system,” she wrote. “Recently, we have asked our classroom teachers to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Our hope is to begin a collective reciting of the Pledge very soon.”
Upon receiving this statement from district spokesperson Amy Varcoe, we pointed out Bishara-Rentisi did not deny saying the quote, just noted it was a “misrepresentation of the conversation.” We asked if someone could provide what the proper representation of the quote would be.
“The quote you printed is inaccurate based on the conversations with staff and students present,” Varcoe said. “When sharing personal experiences with each other, it was expressed that experiences will always differ, but it does not negate experiences or that they exist in different communities even if they are not visible to them.”
We let Varcoe know we were just trying to figure out what Bishara-Rantisi believes she said due to the vagueness left by her statement.
Varcoe responded that Bishara-Rantisi did not say “of course the white girl would suggest a USA day.”