A steady stream of students is coming about racial slurs and bullying

Students of color are facing racial slurs and bullying in and out of the classroom, and many depressed people are dropping out of class, speaking in board meetings, and even suing school administrators. school district.

Student at Tigard High School organized a walkout to protest a video posted on social media that appeared to show students using racial slurs. In October, the Tigard-Tualatin School District said reports of hate speech were increasing in its schools.
“Students report that they are victims of hate speech or have witnessed first-hand hate incidents taking place in our buildings,” Superintendent Sue Rieke-Smith wrote in a message for parents.
In one new report released last week, Government Audit Office An estimated 5.2 million students ages 12 to 18 were bullied during the 2018-2019 school year, and a quarter of those experienced bullying related to race, national origin, religion, or disability. , gender or sexual orientation.

In the same school year, the report said, 1.6 million students were subjected to hate speech due to their identities. Of those incidents, half targeted the students’ race and 24% related to their national origin.

The agency found that while students experienced a range of hostile behaviors, hate was still prevalent in schools. More than 1,500 schools have reported at least one hate crime, and about 5.8 million students reported seeing hate words or symbols written at their schools. The report indicated that included anti-Semitic profanity, references to lynching, the Holocaust and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Students are protesting and seeking 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 that video, a young girl is seen spewing hateful, racist insults towards a black high school student, encouraging her to take her own life.

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

Savage Police Chief Rodney Seurer described the video as a horrific, hateful and racist video, saying such behavior would not be tolerated in the city.

Nya Sigin, 14, spoke at a protest outside her school in Savage, Minnesota, and condemned the video, which she said was aimed at her.

Chioma Osuoha, a student activist who leads a solidarity event with girls and students who have been victims of racism, told CNN she was “heartbroken” and that she was “so heartbroken” angry” when first watching the video. It caused her to start working on getting attention to the video and she contacted the girl.

Since the video began garnering local and national attention, there has been warm support from students and community members for the video, which Osuoha says shows that many are willing Discuss race and learn how to be allies.

“The power is in humans, we have to do everything in numbers and (I) believe that’s exactly what happened,” said 18-year-old Osuoha.

Minnesota police investigate video of racist behavior that encouraged a black student to take his own life
In Michigan, the parents of a 15-year-old black student filed a $150 million federal class-action lawsuit against school officials on her behalf a few days later. Some students objected about the district’s response to Racist messages are posted on the school wall.

The lawsuit, filed last month in U.S. District Court, alleges that Black students and their parents “experienced racist, unfair, hurtful, and sometimes dangerous interactions.” dangerous” at Bloomfield Hills High School by both white staff and students. The lawsuit argues that county officials failed to take steps to prevent racial segregation.

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

“Most importantly, regardless of any regulatory filings, the theme of equity and inclusion will continue to be a priority for Bloomfield Hills Schools, as it has been for the past few years. The district will emerge. stronger and better as a result of these conversations, undaunted by her commitment to all students and facilitating a safe and supportive school environment for all students, ” the statement said.

How racism affects students’ mental health

In recent weeks, the death of a 10-year-old black and autistic student in Utah has prompted closer scrutiny of a school district already under investigation by the Justice Department. It also becomes a stark reminder of the extent that bullying can take on a student’s mental health.

Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor’s parents said she was bullied by her classmates. Some people told her she was foul and they used the n-word, family attorney Tyler Ayres told CNN last month. Parents have reported the bullying to multiple school officials at Foxboro Elementary School in Farmington, Utah, but they feel like nothing happened, Ayres said.

Izzy’s death by suicide on November 6 shocked her community and prompted the Davis School District to launch an ongoing independent investigation. The girl’s death comes weeks after the Justice Department detailed a disturbing pattern where black and Asian-American students at the Davis School District have been harassed for years, and officials deliberately ignoring the complaints of parents and students.

10-year-old Utah Black and student with autism die by suicide weeks after DOJ report to school district

Last week, the district committed to hiring a more diversity staff and appointing a new assistant superintendent who will work on diversity and equity issues and the district’s recent resolution with the DOJ.

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

ONE research published last month found that young people who experience discrimination on the basis of their body, race, age or sex are at higher risk of facing mental health problems than those who have not been discriminated against. judge.

People who regularly face discrimination – at least a few times per month – are about 25% more likely to be diagnosed with a mental disorder and at risk for psychological distress more than twice as severe as those who did not experience discrimination or less often. , according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.

The findings reflect what experts have said about the effects that discrimination and hateful behaviors have on children. Charity Brown Griffin, a certified school psychologist and associate professor of psychological sciences at Winston-Salem, said: State University.

“If you’re constantly going to a place where you feel like you don’t belong, you’re abandoned, and you don’t feel safe, that definitely affects your mental health,” says Griffin. with CNN.

Society often views schools as race-neutral places, she said, but they can be the basis for racial stress and trauma from negative racial climate experiences.

While diverse training and initiatives aimed at systemic issues can help students, another way to protect students is to help them “buffer” from negative experiences. by encouraging positive feelings towards their racial and cultural identities, Griffin said her research shows.

“Black students and other students of color can still thrive, they can still function well because they have these buffers – but that doesn’t mean the system problems don’t exist,” she said. “Cultural assets have given them the opportunity to rise above and be resilient.”


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