A Letter on Racism from a Black HS Student

12654509_970609056350048_2529371753163006438_nAfter posting my opinion on the issue I wanted to share what has gone on back home in Springfield, Virginia at the high school I graduated from back in 2004. What better way than to let the source speak for herself. After obtaining full permission from Ms. Hill to quote her post I have decided not to paraphrase it, but instead to post it as she intended. The racial injustice speaks for itself:

I am a 17 year old junior at West Springfield High School in Springfield, Virginia. I am involved in Black Student Union (BSU), a new club here at WSHS. Every year at my school we hold a MANDATORY ATTENDANCE Black History Month assembly in the month of February. In prior years it has been handled by teachers or leadership. This year however due to leadership not wanting to be involved and the creation of the BSU we were allowed the great opportunity to put together this assembly to educate the school community on our history and culture.

We have put in many hours during and after school to make this assembly the best it could possibly be under the impression we would have two 30 minutes shows during the school day which the whole school was required to attend.

Yesterday, February 9, 2016, we were informed that unlike years before the Black History Month assembly would consist of one show for an hour that would be OPTIONAL ATTENDANCE for students and teachers. This morning at 7:30 am members of the BSU, including myself, talked to the principal and an administrator about why the change was put in place, why were not informed of this change earlier, and to voice our concerns and opinions regarding the sudden change. We all sat in the conference room for about 30 minutes discussing the issue.

They did admit that they were wrong in this situation because they failed to tell us it has been an OPTIONAL assembly from the start. For that we were all very grateful. However when asked about why this assembly was made OPTIONAL while every other assembly has been and will remain MANDATORY we did not get a straightforward answer. At this point we were all frustrated with the direction this conversation seemed to be going. Though disheartened, annoyed, frustrated, blatantly disrespected we continued to conduct ourselves as young adults to the best of our ability. We had no outbursts of the emotions we were feeling, no one cut the adults off while they were talking, we stayed in order the whole time.

Our principal still found reason to believe we were being “hostile” towards him. This is where the problem really started. He then went on to tell us how the teachers would rather us spend our learning seminars in class for educational purposes. To my knowledge learning seminars are NOT supposed to be for teaching but a time for students to study materials given to them beforehand. By him saying this we took it to mean him nor the teachers believed a Black History Month assembly would be educational. The majority of our school’s race is white. They use the words Nigga, Nigger, and Negro on a regular basis. They ask questions and make comments about our hair, our black features, our backgrounds, that should NEVER even be a thought to come out of their mouths. They have set stereotypes about us that make us seem much less than we are. We are categorized as “them” or when being talked to “you guys” “your kind/type” or “your people”.

This is what we tried to explain to our principal to get him to understand why this is a necessary educational assembly. Black people our outright disrespected everyday in our school. A kid walked around the school for an entire day with a confederate flag shirt on that read “Redneck Lives Matter”. Nothing was done to stop him. We also brought this issue up in the meeting. The answer we got from our principal was “This is Virginia. The confederate capital”. This is when our administrator began to talk. She also apologized for them “dropping the ball” but also stuck with the principal on how the assembly was made to be OPTIONAL from the beginning.

Once again we asked why is this assembly OPTIONAL when every year before it’s been MANDATORY and why is the Black History Month assembly the only OPTIONAL assembly this year. The answer we got was even worse than the principal’s. She told us that she wouldn’t want anybody to sit through anything they were not interested in and how education comes first. Two very wrong statements on her part. We are forced to sit through many things in school that we are not interested in which are not in any way educational. The homecoming assembly and pep rally for example. I know quite a few students who would rather not be sitting in the gym watching the dance team performance or the sports teams be presented. But these assemblies and pep rallies are MANDATORY. We cannot opt out and choose not to go though we are not learning anything that will benefit us in the future. The same way that we are not able to not go to useless pep rallies we should not be able to not go to an educational assembly.

At the end of the meeting we were told that they will “try” to see what they can do to make this assembly MANDATORY but once again education comes first. The Black History assembly is educational. Our school NEEDS to know who we are and who we are not. We are not all thugs in jail. We are not all ghetto or ratchet. We do graduate and become doctors and lawyers even presidents. We are every bit as important as any other race.

Today in that meeting we felt as if we were being told that we do not matter enough to be able to show the whole school who we really are. Today we were disrespected by our principal and administration. The BSU has been working from the start to educate the school and try to make them see US as a people and not what they hear on the radio or see on the news or in movies or on tv. All we want to do is be recognized for who we really are as young black people. Today we were told that most likely we will not get the recognition we deserve because we aren’t as important as the dance team or people on sports teams. This isn’t about a show or an assembly it’s about West Springfield High School not caring about their Black community. The BSU will not stop until we get everyone to listen to what we have to say. Black People matter too. Please share to get the word out about what is happening at my school.


That is what Ms. Hill has to say. It breaks my heart. I wrote the principal and shared with him how I feel. I hope you will do the same!

West Springfield High School – Racial Injustice for Black History Month

Dear Mr. Mukai,

As a former graduate of West Springfield High School (WSHS), class of 2004, I was very disheartened to hear that the current administration does not find Black History Month to be educational or a valuable lesson for the current student body. Every year, as you know, WSHS has hosted a MANDATORY Black History Month Assembly. However vague and brief the assembly was it was an opportunity for the few black students at the school to highlight the struggles their ancestors have experienced throughout history.

I couldn’t have been more impressed to learn that the Black Student Union (BSU) at West Springfield was able to secure an individual who marched alongside Dr. King in Selma to come and speak about his experiences as a protester during the Civil Rights Movement with all of the students at your institution. Yet you sat in a room of black students at your school and said education was more important. How is this experience not educational and of the utmost importance?

When I was a student at West Springfield High School the administration valued cultural and racial differences. It embraced celebrating the diversity in which we all were being raised around. That is one of the things I loved about the annual Black History Month assembly and the high school I attended.

In a time when we watch people around the country scream racial slurs, we see racial unrest and even issues like xenophobia it seems that the Black History Month assembly would be ever more important at a predominantly white affluent school like West Springfield High School.

As J.H. Clarke said:

History tells a people where they have been and what they have been, where they are and what they are. Most important, history tells a people where they still must go and what they still must be.

 A school that allows students to wear the confederate flag as clothing because Virginia is the “capital of the South” is a school that should learn to educate students on all sides of the issues. It is a school that clearly has students that need to be educated on where we still must go and still must be as a people.

There is no doubt, as is said on countless sites about this issue and by the BSU that white students constantly use “words like Nigga, Nigger and Negro on a regular basis.” and ask questions to black students about their “hair, our black features, our backgrounds, that should NEVER even be thought to come out of their mouths. They have set stereotypes about us that make us seem much less than we are.”

If you wonder why Black History Month is important and a day to teach about race and the related struggles look right there.

When you have students taunting black students with shirts of the confederate flag or shirts that read “redneck lives matter” I almost wonder if the administration needs a sensitivity training seminar to realize the systemic issues going on within your school. In the past two years I have heard many alarming issues coming out of your halls that weren’t there when I was a student. From our former band director being sent off to prison for soliciting students for sex under your roof to disenfranchising black students, something has to be done!

I stand with the students and will loudly and proudly do so. I hope you will do the right thing and reinstate the mandatory assemblies.


Bobby Argabrite (formerly Whetsell as a student)

Fairfax County School District
Fairfax County Superintendent

Laurence Einuis… Guilty and in Prison

Laurence Einuis -- Photo by Virginia.gov
Laurence Einuis — Photo by Virginia.gov

In June of 2014 I wrote a few articles about an old high school teacher of mine named Laurence Einuis from West Springfield High School who took local media in Northern Virginia by storm when he was arrested.  Mr. Einuis was a longstanding educator, mentor and band director in the Springfield, VA community in which he taught.

That’s why it was an absolute shock and came as a heartbreak to those of us he taught when we learned that he was being accused of soliciting a minor through an electronic communications device for sexual purposes.

Articles flooded out about him being arrested on June 4, 2014 and charged, but following his November 2014 court dates I was unable to find any update on his trial. Was he found guilty or innocent? Was the case postponed or thrown-out? What was going on with the case?

I guess it wasn’t important enough to continue receiving attention from local media in Fairfax County, but I recently received an email from a reader of my blog letting me know that she stumbled upon the answers to all my questions on a website I wish she hadn’t.

You see, I personally held out hope for Mr. Einuis. I wanted this to be a mistake or misunderstanding of some sort. Yet, he has been found guilty.

That is right. According to the Virginia State Police Department’s Sex Offender Registry Laurence Einuis was found guilty on January 7, 2015 of taking indecent liberties with a child by a custodian and propose sex act by communications system and is now incarcerated at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

It’s a sad ending to a sad situation. My thoughts go out to the families that have had to deal with this and were effected by this and to Mr. Einuis’ family who have had to suffer through this as well.

And the case goes on for Laurence Einuis

I’ve received a few questions about what is going on with Mr. Laurence Einuis and the ongoing case against him.  Rumors have swirled for a few weeks that an attorney review was scheduled for July 2nd, but no one seems to be able to find information on that court date.

CoverAccording the Criminal Case Details provided by the General District Court of Fairfax County Virginia Laurence Einuis was charged under code section 18.2-374.3 which accuses him of using communications systems to facilitate certain offenses involving children (for a full explanation of the charge click here). This charge is a class 5 felony charge which means if found guilty Einuis would face a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.

The offense date was filed as June 2, 2014 and the arrest date was June 5, 2014 by Detective Nick Boffi.  According to Detective Boffi’s LinkedIn profile he has been with the Fairfax County Police Department just shy of 22 years having joined the force in October of 1992.  With close ties to the high school world of Northern Virginia, having graduated from Chantilly High School in 1990, it comes as no surprise to me that he works to protect children in the wonderful county of Fairfax.

On June 6, 2014 Einuis was arraigned in courtroom 2k at the Fairfax County Court.  On July 2nd he was scheduled for an attorney review which is listed as having been continued.  His next court date was scheduled for 2:00 pm EST for the preliminary hearing, but it has been continued already.  The continuance is listed as agreed upon by both the defendant and prosecution.


The next preliminary hearing is now scheduled for August 26, 2014 at 2:00 PM EST.  Einuis will be represented by Defense Attorney Gary Moliken.  Not much information is available on Mr. Moliken at this point, but I will do some investigation.


For those of you just learning about this case Laurence Einuis was the director and teacher for West Springfield High School’s band program.  He was arrested in early June after a parent found inappropriate messages sent from Einuis to an underage student. A second victim has stepped forward, but information is not yet available on those additional charges.

Stay tuned for more information and to read about the allegations against Mr. Einuis check out my previous postings here!

To read the case details visit the Fairfax County Court website or you can review a PDF of the case details here: Laurence Einuis Case Information as of 7/25/2014.

No, But Seriously… Possible Logical Reasons for Laurence Einuis Possessing 15 Computers…

It's just creepy...
It’s just creepy…

Is anyone else starting to feel like we have to tap into the Carmen San Diego in us as we try to piece together the little bit of information that has been released about the Laurence Einuis accusations and investigation?  15 computers were seized and two victims have come forward. We only know what he is accused of from the first victim.  What is on those computers?

Yes, it will all come out in the end, but for now a lot of us seem to be asking the same question.  Why would one man own 15 computers and why didn’t the police notice them the first time they went through his home? That’s right, they only found them because he asked his wife about them while on the phone and a guard listening in heard.

I ask again, what is on those computers? Our minds can run wild, but until I hear anything I have to say there are some possible logical reasons and innocent reasons for his having that many computers and hard drives in his possession.

First, according to the Fairfax Times, Laurence Einuis had spent about 15 years in different positions involving engineering and technical management in the broadcast television industry and 5 years as the director of operations and engineering for the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach.  I could see how working in this industry could result in you owning more than one computer. 15 still seems a stretch, but I could  see some logic here.

Second, I was informed by a former colleague of his that she believes he helps run registration for the Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) and those computers possibly were VMEA computers and used for registration purposes.  That sounds innocent enough, but that is a hypothetical answer as well that I could not find evidence of on the VMEA website.

Yet, I still have to keep asking in the back of my mind why he cared if the police found these computers if he had nothing to hide. We will just have to wait and see, but you try getting my brain to stop asking the question why! I can’t help it.  I want so bad for there to be a logical and innocent reason for owning those computers.  If there is something on them that he doesn’t want the police to know about I have to admit I am terrified because my mind goes straight to the scariest places I do not dare mention yet.






The Silent Victims of the Laurence Einuis Allegations

images (2)When the news first broke about accusations against West Springfield High School (WSHS) Band Director and Teacher Laurence Einuis having sexually inappropriate relations or conversation with a student came I was floored.  Simply shocked by what I had heard about a teacher that was a big part of my life.  As the days have come and gone since his arrest I’ve sat on the edge of my seat waiting for the next bit of news. What is going on?

I have so many questions about the case and what the police are finding.  I have so many thoughts flying around in my head because I simply am having trouble digesting the news and figuring out how to feel about it. With that in mind, I took to my blog.  I realized that the people around me now, 10 years after graduating from West Springfield High School and moving away, don’t have the same emotional attachment to this situation as I do.  None-the-less I needed an outlet.

Slowly I am learning that I am not alone.  I’ve received so much private feedback on this blog, emails, Facebook messages and calls from current students at WSHS, past students I’ve never met, teachers I use to have when I was a student at the school and former classmates who were in Mr. Einuis’ band class with me.  I’ve been overwhelmed trying to think what to do next. How do I respond.  It wasn’t my original thought that so many people would be reaching out to me so I had no plan on what to say to them.  What should I say? I’m not involved in this issue, I’m just a former student of Mr. Einuis’ who feels very emotional about all that has been going on.  Well, that’s what I can do. I can let all those other past and current students, past and current colleagues of Mr. Einuis’ and past and present family members of his students share their thoughts and talk. I ask that if you feel like you need an outlet to find one.  Reach out to anyone until you find that person that you can talk to about all that is going on.  If you are a current student at the school, from what I have seen recently, the counselor’s and staff deeply care about you and want to be there for you.

I wanted to share a note I received from a current student at West Springfield High School.  While I have received his/her permission to share this email I am omitting any information that impedes upon this students privacy including gender, name, and grade level:

I’m so sorry that this Einuis thing has been affecting you too. I was googling Einuis’s name again to see if any new information had popped up when I saw your blog. I’m a [STUDENT’S GRADE LEVEL HAS BEEN OMITTED] at West Springfield, and [OMITTED IDENTIFYING  INFORMATION]. I wish that I could say that we know more here in Springfield than you do in California, but we don’t. Only that we were just as shocked. There were no warning signs that anyone could see. I don’t even remember if I saw him pass a note to anyone in class, but I’m sure that it would have seemed so common it wouldn’t have merited remembrance. The day that all of this broke out, the administrators took him in the middle of our wind symphony rehearsal 3rd period to arrest him in the parking lot so that we couldn’t see. I didn’t believe that it could be anything more than a misunderstanding at first. Certainly he has an off-color sense of humor, and I initially assumed that he finally told the wrong joke to the wrong student. I have to agree, however, with the most recent information that as much as all that I know of this man from my time in high school makes me want to defend him, I’m afraid that he probably isn’t worthy of that defense. I’m not really sure why I’m writing this, partially to inform you if your friends and family aren’t as connected to the school as someone currently enrolled, and partly because it’s comforting to know that others are feeling the same way even years after leaving high school and while living on the other side of the country. Thank you for blogging about this, and I hope that for all of the students’ and alumni’s sake that all of this is resolved soon.

I think this student said it best when s/he wrote, “partly because it’s comforting to know that others are feeling the same way even years after leaving high school and while living on the other side of the country.”  That’s what I think a lot of us are looking for. Comfort to know we aren’t alone in the feelings we are having.

I’ve said it in various ways before, but I feel adamant about the importance in community and keeping in mind just how many people are being affected by this situation and hurting from it. The numbers of victims in this situation seem never ending when you step back.

Obviously my heart aches for the alleged victims and their family members who are directly affected by this situation. I can’t imagine what they are going through, but I also ache for the silent victims and people having to cope with this.  From Mr. Einuis’ family, to Mr. Einuis himself, to  WSHS current and past students and staff and anyone else that feels distraught by this. And yes, I do consider all of the people who are hurting or confused by this as victims.  Not that I need to explain why, but the definition of a victim is “someone or something that is harmed by an unpleasant event.” To me that is all of you.
Rest assured that if you are upset with this story you aren’t alone and no matter when you knew Mr. Einuis or were involved with WSHS you have every right to feeling distraught by this.
I think the current and past teachers and staff I have spoken to at WSHS have said it best to me when I asked, and I have asked multiple people, why we are all so upset by this (current students, current staff, past students, past staff and the general public) when I was told by one person:


I agree that it feels very personal [to all of us past and present].  This is someone we once considered a friend… someone who was invited into our homes, lives, etc.  We feel betrayed, and I think, really, most of us should because we trusted him. This makes students and those who have trusted and worked with him in the past and present question the motivation in every conversation we’d ever had… I get the feeling of having someone you respect fall “off the pedestal” so to speak. It stinks, for everyone.  So it makes sense it feels personal. It’s personal for everyone who feels their trust has been betrayed.


I think, as we continue to wait for more information to be released the best thing to do is to:
  1. Know you aren’t alone. A lot of people have strong emotions about these allegations.
  2. Talk to anyone you can about your feelings. Don’t question these types of situations alone.  Talk to your parents, classmates, teachers, counselors, therapists or do what this girl did and write someone and share your feelings for the sole purpose of being heard.  Sometimes we just need to know our feelings are heard and that there are people out there who relate to our feelings.
  3. Setup a Google alert for Laurence Einuis. So many of you have written me saying you came across my blog Googling Laurence Einuis.  Save yourself some time and have any new information added on the web emailed directly to you or check back here as I will try to keep updated as well.

Thank you for all your input, comments, feedback and support.  I have great memories at West Springfield High School and as I’ve started reconnecting with people from my High School past and connecting for the first time with many people who are now actively involved with the WSHS community I remember why. We are a caring, compassionate, loving, and smart community of people.





Teacher, Laurence Einuis, arrested at West Springfield High School – Second Alleged Victim Comes Forward

hqdefaultReally? This is where it is going? I should have seen this train wreck coming down the rails last week, but I didn’t want to believe it. I refused to believe it. There is still a big part of me that doesn’t believe it and hopes this is all a misunderstanding, but dear goodness. Somethings just can’t be ignored!

Laurence Einuis was the band director and a teacher at the high school I attended a decade ago.  He has been accused of soliciting a 14-year-old boy inappropriately via text message.  I have been deeply bothered by this for days. I haven’t wanted to believe it. Worst of all, I’ve been taking it personally.  Since I last wrote about the situation surrounding these accusations against Mr. Laurence Einuis new developments have been released.

I may not be a spoiled 17/18-year-old boy sitting in the back of Mr. Einuis’ band class holding my trombone, but 10 years later I still feel personally let down by everything I am hearing.  Now, less than a week since Mr. Einuis was arrested a second alleged victim has stepped forward. No useful details seem to be available beyond noting there is a second alleged victim. I am sure this will change rapidly.

As I hear that there is more and more possibility of damning proof and evidence against Mr. Einuis I feel a bit more devastated.  Why though? Why is it so personal?

I wish I could go on from here writing about why I think I am taking it so personally, but I can’t.  That just makes my mind spin even more.  If I can’t figure all of this out. If I can’t figure out what I am exactly feeling about this news. If I can’t figure out why I do have any feelings about this situation then how can all the current students who Mr. Einuis teaches deal with this?

brunsell-claim-evidence-reasoningI am a 28 year old man living in Los Angeles, California. I have been removed from Northern Virginia for most of those 10 years, so my attachment has been pretty distant.  None-the-less I am a bit emotional.  It scares me.  What about the kids living this live an in person?  How are they being helped?  What do you say to them? What do you say to anyone in this situation?

The questions are endless. Innocent of guilty a lot of people are affected by this.  What now?