Constant wave of students show up over racist slurs and bullying

Students of color face racial slurs and bullying inside and outside the classroom, and many of those fed up have walked out of the classroom, speaking out at council meetings administration and even sued school districts.

Students at Tigard High School organized the walkout to protest a video posted to social media that appears to show students using racial slurs. In October, the Tigard-Tualatin School District said reports of hate speech incidents were on the rise in its schools.
“Students report that they have been victims of hate speech or have observed incidents of hate firsthand in our buildings,” Superintendent Sue Rieke-Smith wrote in a message to parents.
In a new report released last week, the Government Accountability Office estimated that 5.2 million students aged 12 to 18 were bullied in the 2018-19 school year and that one in four of them suffered bullying related to their race, national origin, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation.

In the same school year, the report says, 1.6 million students were victims of hate speech because of their identity. Of these incidents, half targeted the race of the students and 24% were related to their national origin.

The agency found that while students experience a range of hostile behavior, hatred is rife in schools. Over 1,500 schools reported having committed at least one hate crime, and approximately 5.8 million students reported seeing hateful words or symbols written in schools. This included anti-Semitic slurs, references to lynching, the Holocaust and anti-immigrant rhetoric, the report says.

Students demonstrate and demand legal action

Dozens of students attended protests and solidarity events in Minnesota last month after a racist video was widely shared on social media. In this video, a young girl is seen spitting hateful and racist slurs at a black high school student, encouraging him to kill himself.

Nya Sigin, a 14-year-old student from Prior Lake High School, told CNN last month that she was the target of the video, which is currently being investigated by Savage Police, in Minnesota. The investigation was launched after the girl’s older sister and several students from several schools reported her to school officials.

Savage Police Chief Rodney Seurer called the video horrific, hateful and racist, saying such behavior would not be tolerated in the town.

Chioma Osuoha, a student activist who led a solidarity event with the girl and students who suffered from racial incidents, told CNN her “heart went down” and that she was “so angry” when she watched the video for the first time. This prompted her to start working to bring attention to the video and she contacted the girl.

Since the video began to gain local and national attention, there has been a surge of support from students and community members outraged by the video, which Osuoha says shows that many people are ready to discuss race and learn how to be allies.

“The power is in the people, we have to do things in numbers and (I) believe that’s exactly what happened,” said Osuoha, 18.

Minnesota police investigate video of racist rant encouraging black student to kill herself
In Michigan, parents of a 15-year-old black student filed a $ 150 million federal class action lawsuit against school officials on her behalf days after several students protested their school district’s response to the racist messages posted on the walls of the school.

The lawsuit, filed last month in U.S. District Court, argues that black students and their parents “experienced racist, unfair, hurtful and sometimes dangerous interactions” at Bloomfield Hills High School from white staff and students. District officials failed to take action to end racial discrimination, according to the lawsuit.

In a statement, the Bloomfield Hills School District declined to comment “on the details of the pending litigation.”

“Most importantly, regardless of any legal deposit, the subject of equity and inclusion will continue to be a top priority for Bloomfield Hills Schools, as it has done for the past several years. The district will come out stronger and better as a result of these conversations, without being discouraged by its commitment to all students and facilitating a safe and supportive school environment for each student, ”the statement said.

How Racism Affects Student Mental Health

In recent weeks, the death of a 10-year-old black student with autism in Utah has prompted a school district for further scrutiny that had previously been investigated by the Department of Justice. It has also become a stark reminder of the toll bullying can have on student mental health.

Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor’s parents said she was bullied by her classmates. Some told her she stank and they used the n-word, family lawyer Tyler Ayres told CNN last month. Parents reported the bullying to several officials at Foxboro Elementary School in Farmington, Utah, but they felt nothing had been done, Ayres said.

Izzy’s death by suicide on November 6 shocked his community and prompted the Davis School District to launch an independent investigation that is continuing. The girl’s death came weeks after the Justice Department detailed a disturbing pattern that saw black and Asian American students in the Davis School District have been harassed for years, and officials deliberately ignored complaints from parents and students.

Black, autistic 10-year-old student from Utah commits suicide weeks after scathing Justice Department report on school district

Last week, the district committed to hiring more diverse staff and appointed a new deputy superintendent who will work on diversity and equity issues and the district’s recent settlement with the DOJ.

A district spokesperson declined to comment further on how school officials are handling recent controversies over racial tensions.

A study published last month found that young adults who experience discrimination about their body, race, age or gender are at greater risk of facing mental health problems than those who do not. do not suffer from it.

Those who were frequently discriminated against – at least a few times a month – were about 25% more likely to be diagnosed with a mental disorder and twice as likely to develop severe psychological distress as those who did not. discrimination or have done so less often. , according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.

The results reflect what experts said about the effects of discrimination and hostile behavior on children. Experiencing a negative racial climate in school can have an impact on students in Kindergarten to Grade 12, including lower grades, low engagement and their mental health, said Charity Brown Griffin, certified school psychologist and associate professor of psychological sciences at Winston-Salem. State University.

“If you have to go to a place every day where you feel like you belong, where you are excluded and where you don’t feel safe, it is definitely going to take a toll on your sanity. Griffin told CNN.

Society often views schools as racially neutral places, she said, but they can be platforms of racial stress and trauma from negative racial climate experiences.

While diversity training and initiatives targeting systemic issues can help students, another way to protect students is to help them “create a buffer” against negative experiences by encouraging positive feelings about their racial identity and their culture, Griffin said according to his research.

“Black students and other students of color are still able to thrive, they are still able to perform well because they have these pads – but that doesn’t mean the systemic issues don’t exist,” a- she declared. “Cultural assets have allowed them to rise above and be resilient despite. “

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