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Bucks County School Districts Are Urged by Students to Better Address Systemic Racism - Will It Happen? Sign the Petition.

Bucks County School Districts Are Urged by Students to Better Address Systemic Racism - Will It Happen? Sign the Petition. | Anti Discrimination | Scoop.it

School districts in Bucks County are trying to become more proactive to battle systemic racism in response to last month’s death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

 

In Council Rock and New Hope-Solebury, past and present students have taken it upon themselves to push for change in their districts.

 

Council Rock High School South graduates Farah Contractor, a Muslim Asian-American, and Danielle Randall, who is white, wrote a letter to school board members, Superintendent Robert Fraser and other district administrators listing 15 steps they feel would make the district more in tune and sensitive to issues like systemic racism and diversity.

 

They include changing the “Indian” nickname for athletic teams at Council Rock High School North [actually, the letter recommends changing the name of the CR mascot "to something inoffensive"]  , adding more Black and indigenous peoples’ history to the American history curriculum, adding more world and LGBTQ history to the curriculum, and making an active effort to hire and train a more diverse teaching staff.

 

Contractor and Randall, who also are both 2019 University of Pennsylvania graduates, have gathered about 1,700 signatures in support of the letter.

 

[Find the letter, the action steps, and a link to the petition here.] 

 

“Many of our former classmates and other members of the community took to social media in the last few weeks to share ignorant posts about the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement and about systemic racism,” the two 2015 CR South graduates wrote in an email.

 

“Farah and her family have experienced micro and macroaggressions living in a conservative county as Muslim South Asians. We both have witnessed discrimination and racist behavior in the Council Rock community not limited to swastikas drawn on school property and racial profiling.

 

“We also reflected on the heavily Eurocentric education at CR and felt that CR adding a more diverse curriculum would help broaden the perspective of students to life outside of suburban Bucks County. We thought this letter would be well timed and prompt the administration to revise its curriculum and policies regarding systemic racism, as well as hold themselves accountable for these changes.”

 

Saying that he had not seen the petition, Fraser, the Council Rock superintendent, did not specifically address points raised in the two graduates’ letter but emailed a general statement that read “I have been rocked to my core with the senseless killings of George Floyd and others, and I have urged our Council Rock community to come together as one to combat any hate crime, any hate speech, and all forms of racism.

 

Council Rock School Board President Andy Block wrote in an email, “I am aware that a petition is circulating, but will reserve any comment specific to that letter until we have received it.”

 

“This fight to end these oppressive systems is not an instantaneous one, and we believe one of the key steps in this process is to properly educate our youth in the true history of this nation,” Contractor and Randall wrote in their letter to Council Rock officials.

 

“We want to express our disappointment with the district’s current level of engagement and inaction regarding these difficult topics, and to urge the district to do better and actively prepare their students to become upstanding citizens who will fight for progressive change.”

 

johnmacknewtowns insight:

One note: The article mentions that "'The [CRSD] already has taken steps following several racial incidents in recent years, like forming a diversity and inclusion council, sensitivity and other training for students and staff, curriculum additions and special assemblies around issues of tolerance and inclusion."

 

I spoke with Robyn Johnson who was actively involved in getting CRSD to implement diversity training a few years ago. The problem, she says, is that it was supposed to continue presumably under the guidance of the "diversity and inclusion council", but it has not.

 

More "systemic" change is needed to end "systemic" racism in our schools and society. CRSD has set up a system, but that system has not done is job to continue to train staff in diversity on a yearly basis, according to Ms. Johnson.

 

Related content:

  • “Letter & Petition Urge Council Rock School District to Better Empower Students to Embrace Diversity, Not Racism”; http://sco.lt/5AuKsi
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Anti Discrimination
This board is dedicated to promoting the value of diversity and addressing discrimination based on age, race, color, gender, religion, creed, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin and disability. These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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