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How to talk about race in the classroom? Chalkbeat readers have ideas.

Nicholas Garcia

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:

This has been an awful week in America. Chalkbeat is looking to document how the education community is responding to...

Posted by Chalkbeat Colorado on Friday, July 8, 2016

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:

Then there was this call to action:

Join the education conversation by liking Chalkbeat Colorado on Facebook and following us on Twitter. You can also get Chalkbeat in your inbox every morning by signing up for our newsletter.

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