On Friday, after a week of violence that reignited a debate about race and policing in the U.S., we asked Chalkbeat readers on Facebook and Twitter what role they thought schools could play in the conversation moving forward:
Three comments on our Facebook page stood out.
Reader Ann Walker Christensen said schools should commit to greater and equal access to quality learning to students of color:
provide equal access to experienced teachers to all children, equal paraprofessional support for all beginning readers, equal % of students of color identified as Gifted as the % of Anglo students, When we model institutional racism, we should not be surprised that students figure out the agenda. Racism is not just about individual attitudes but about bureaucratic action.
Jen Fryer, a mother, suggested more cultural diversity training at school:
I wish I knew how to make a difference. I do think it starts at home and teaching our children love and tolerance for others. My daughter is in high school and I can’t help but wonder if some trainings on racial sensitivity would be helpful for students and staff. We’ve been talking about the news a lot and it led to a discussion of her telling me how the n word is used a lot in her school and how the white kids are called crackers…children learn this from somewhere and I believe it starts in the home and they don’t always know better.
Sue Sam said police officers should be spending time in classrooms talking with students, not patrolling hallways.
A start would be to get the police out of the schools as law enforcers. The police should be visiting schools on a regular basis as friends who serve and protect. They should be having conversations with the students about these issues, letting the kids talk and ask them questions. And, perhaps, letting students weigh in on how they would define good policing. Police do not need to be in schools arresting and ticketing our children. And they really don’t want to be in that role.
On Twitter, veteran educator Mark Sass of the Adams 12 school district had this to say:
@egorski my job as a T during these times is to support students to embrace the dissonance of these times. To be uncomfortable is to learn.— Mark Sass (@collabteacher) July 8, 2016
Then there was this call to action:
@egorski informing students that tweeting doesn't do the job; get out and protest— Mr. Munoz (@mrmunozteacher) July 12, 2016