Fight racism in school

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The past year had much to do with students reporting racism incidents that occurred in all areas of the Juneau School District. There have been many more incidents that were not reported or followed up on by staff. Our students have tried to maintain the relationship between one another, and when it was not possible they did report incidents to staff members. Not all staff members are willing to follow up on these reports; so the student never gets the help they asked for. Thank you to the staff members who have been willing to listen and help a student in these situations.

Our School Board and school staff need to assure that they are willing to maintain that the policies and regulations of the district will be first demonstrated by them in order for the students to honor the policies and regulations. Every student in a classroom needs to be respected and acknowledged by the staff. Students' nationality should not matter in a classroom or in any school activity. Let all of the staff comply with the policies and regulations and that will help the system.

You can change the dress code, but if the students are not considered as to who they are, you will more than likely find more students dropping out of school or even having more incidents in the school-area property.

The problem of racism has always been here, no matter who expresses it, on or off the school premises. It is a matter of all staff members doing what they must to avoid it getting out of hand as it did this past school year. There are some who will not acknowledge it is in the school system or in the community of Juneau, but it is there and some of the students who are being harassed need help to avoid being hurt for a lifetime.

You can make the students use a dress code, but it does not change who or what they feel inside unless the entire staff is doing what they agreed to do when they were hired by our school district. If a student takes time to report an incident, staff members need to respond and help keep it a safe environment for all individuals.

Have we, the community of Juneau, ever asked our students what they would like to see happen in the school, or do we need another school in Juneau? We should have let them vote before we had our votes counted. Our classrooms are too big for the teachers; this should have been the real issue of building another school in Juneau. Juneau will continue to grow; more families will move here for better employment or education for the children. We need to be ready for that in the future and the coming school year.

Jerry Bennett Sr.


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