REPORT: PHM Superintendent vows to change racist scholarship

Jerry Thacker
PHM Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker

MISHAWAKA, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has learned the Penn Harris Madison School Corporation Superintendent has promised to change a racist scholarship that excludes only white students. This move comes after backlash from parents and some board members regarding the scholarship put together by Superintendent Jerry Thacker and his wife. However, it appears the scholarship will go through as planned this year.

School Board Member Matt Chaffee announced the changes at a school board meeting earlier this week. Following public comment, Chaffee said he had a conversation with Thacker regarding the scholarship where Thacker agreed to make the changes moving forward. However, Thacker never spoke up about the changes himself.

"I actually had a conversation with Dr. Thacker on March 17th, bringing specifically the scholarship." Chaffee said. "He assured me that specific scholarship, the criteria will be changing in the future. I think it's important that, looking at this scholarship... he's entitled to spend his money how he sees fit just like I'm entitled to spend my money as I see fit. But, my perceived issue with it is how it was tied to his position within the school system."

Earlier this month, RNM published a story about the scholarship for a graduating Penn High School senior that excludes only one race of people. The “Student Educator Scholarship” is for a graduating senior who plans to seek a degree in teacher education. The only other criteria for applying is that the student cannot be white.

"Dr. and Mrs. Jerry Thacker, The Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation superintendent
and his wife, have created a scholarship for graduating seniors of color who will be
pursuing a degree in teacher education and who attend high school in the P-H-M School
Corporation." The application for the scholarship reads. "The scholarship is designed to assist a student attending college in the fall of 2023. The scholarship winner will receive $1,000 and be announced at the Senior Recognition Program."

The eligibility section of the scholarship states the recipient will be a graduating Penn High School senior, a person of color with great character and a good role model, and must also be involved in extracurricular activities.

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