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Racism in the Classroom: A Child's Drawing Sparks Outrage

A parent seeks guidance on addressing a disturbing incident at their community school: A child's offensive drawing raises serious concerns about racism and accountability.

Hey MJ,

I'm deeply troubled by an incident that occurred at our community school and I'm seeking advice on how to address it. A 7th-grade student was asked in a French class to draw a representation of themselves and their community members. In this drawing, the student depicted his classmates circling around him, but noticeably isolated the only black child in the class, depicting them away from the group.


When explaining his drawing, the student referred to this black classmate as his "slave." This incident happened a week ago, and I'm still reeling from the shock and hurt it has caused. To make matters worse, the school principal seems to be downplaying the situation. There's been no appropriate consequence for the child's actions, nor any communication to parents or the school community about the incident.


I'm at a loss for what to do. How can we ensure that this matter is addressed properly, and that a strong message is sent against such racist acts? What steps can I take to advocate for a more responsive and responsible handling of this situation by the school?


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Thank you.


Sincerely,

Anonymous


Dear Anonymous,

The incident you've described at your community school is deeply concerning and highlights the need for immediate, effective action to address and prevent racism. The lack of adequate response from the school principal is troubling and necessitates a proactive approach to ensure accountability and education on such critical matters.


First, request a formal meeting with the school principal and any relevant staff, such as the student's teacher or school counselor. Clearly articulate your concerns about the incident, emphasizing the harmful impact it has on both the targeted student and the broader school community. Stress the importance of addressing this matter transparently and the need for appropriate disciplinary action in line with the school's policies on racism and bullying.


If the response from the principal remains insufficient, consider escalating the issue to higher authorities. This could involve writing to the school board, district superintendent, or even local education officials. In your communication, present a factual account of the incident and the inadequate response from the school, underscoring the urgent need for intervention.


Mobilizing other parents and community members can significantly strengthen your advocacy efforts. Collaboratively, you can voice your collective concerns, perhaps through a petition, a community meeting, or via social media platforms. A united front demonstrates to the school and district officials that this issue is of paramount importance to the community and requires their immediate attention.


Advocate for the implementation of educational programs and initiatives that focus on diversity, inclusivity, and anti-racism. Suggest that the school organizes workshops, guest speaker events, or ongoing classroom discussions that foster a deeper understanding and respect for diversity among students.


Additionally, if you can, reach out to the family of the child who was targeted in the incident. They may need support in dealing with the aftermath and addressing the issue with the school. Offering your assistance or simply showing solidarity can be immensely helpful during such a challenging time.


Taking these steps can help ensure that the incident is not only appropriately addressed but also serves as a catalyst for meaningful change in the school's approach to racism and inclusivity.



Kenbe la,

MJ

ABOUT "HEY, MJ"

In 2020, the "Badass Black Girl" book series author M.J. Fievre began receiving correspondence from a varied audience, including parents, young adults, and teens. Fievre, an established author and speaker, is known for her insightful engagement with themes relevant to these demographics. The communication, primarily through Facebook or the Badass Black Girl inbox, revolves around topics covered in her books and public talks. These interactions display a rich tapestry of experiences and viewpoints, highlighting the author's impact on her readers.


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