This is why we fight for our children. We fight for a better world. My readers may remember the challenges that Carl was facing in middle school. There were children calling him a “taco.” They called him “brownie.” They threatened to send him “back over the wall” to Mexico.
Carl was bewildered. “But I’m Puerto Rican!” he kept saying. “I was born in Massachusetts!”
My husband and I went to administration. We asked if these children could be educated about racial slurs, racism, and the impacts of their insensitivity. Since the Vice Principal didn’t really understand the impact of the bullying (you can read about it here) we went to the Superintendent. In our state there are bullying laws, so we requested an investigation.
The director of pupil services got involved. The investigation substantiated that bullying had, in fact, occurred. A plan was developed to educate students about racism in every class. One was developed for the students involved in the bullying.
Another plan was made to educate administration about racism and cultural sensitivity. Trust me, they needed it. I was initially told that the VP would be educating staff about racism at an upcoming faculty meeting. Umm…no. He is not qualified.
After I explained to the director of pupil services why he was unqualified, she agreed to provide specific training for him. Our state’s leading school climate specialist is coming out to hopefully help him further. In fact, he’s also had 4 days out-of-school training. I hope it helps. Education is the only way to fight ignorance.
Two children continued harassment after the investigation took place. Everyone else stopped immediately after being educated about the impact of their words. One of the children continuing to bully is a white kid who believes what he says. He has been hearing these statements somewhere. The other kid is, sadly, part Mexican. He’s also scared to let anyone know. So he passes for white and targets my darker skinned son. This is fear, plain and simple. It is a little boy’s fear hiding behind a light-skinned face, hoping he won’t be discovered.
All I can say is that administration is handling the matter. The school setting needs to be a safe place for children of color. Changes are now occurring because my husband and I fought for our son.
Carl came home the other day and said he’d had a great week. He asked to visit a friend this weekend. He seems to be doing better. So this is why. He is the reason we fight.
**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.