Racism will not die with older people.
This sentiment has been echoed countlessly as bigotry in this country gets increasing coverage. So just to be clear, it is not just your 77-year-old grandmother who is crotchety and missing the good old days. It’s also your high schooler who chants the N-word at football games or signs a petition to reinstate slavery.
The Justice Department announced on Thursday that it reached a settlement agreement with the Davis School District in Farmington, Utah, to address the racial discrimination against Black and Asian students that’s been plaguing the hallways of their schools.
KSL TV reports the DOJ started its investigation in July 2019. The department found that the school district failed to act on the hundreds of reports of racial harassment and discrimination and allowed the behaviors from students and staff to persist, violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
According to the Washington Post, the DOJ focused on 27 schools from the district and discovered that officials knew of at least 212 different incidents in which Black students were called the N-word.
Here’s more about what the investigation found, from the Post:
Black students were called the n-word, referred to as monkeys and told their skin looked like feces, the investigation found, with district officials “deliberately indifferent” to the “racially hostile climate.” The investigation also uncovered slurs aimed at Asian American students, who were called “yellow” and “squinty” and told to “go back to China.”
Sometimes the offensive behavior came from district staff, the investigation found, with staff members ridiculing students in front of their peers, endorsing pejorative stereotypes of people of color in class and retaliating against students of color for reporting harassment.
And the racism doesn’t stop there. According to the DOJ’s report, the harassment of Black students often escalated when their classes covered slavery. Black students would hear “go pick cotton” and “you are my slave” and often get bullied if they didn’t give their white and other non-Black classmates a pass to say the N-word. The department also reports that Black students were disciplined more harshly and not allowed to form student groups.
“These incidents took place on a daily or weekly basis. Some students, now in middle and high school, said they had experienced racial harassment each year since they were kindergarteners,” DOJ said in its report.
The report also claims that some students would even miss school to get away from harassment. The Post reports that Black and Asian American students each account for 1 percent of the children attending school in the district.
The Davis school district issued a statement, according to the Post, acknowledging the DOJ’s findings (and their failures). “This important work begins immediately and will continue over the next several years,” the statement said. “The district is wholeheartedly committed to creating and maintaining a safe and welcoming environment for all students free from harassment and discrimination.”
Here’s what the DOJ and school district agreed to, from KSL:
The school district agreed to retain a consultant to review anti-discrimination procedures. Among other steps the district agreed to:
- create a new department to handle complaints of race discrimination;
- train staff on how to identify, investigate, and respond to complaints of racial harassment and discriminatory discipline practices;
- inform students and parents of how to report harassment and discrimination;
- create a centralized, electronic reporting system to track and manage complaints and Davis’s response to complaints;
- implement student, staff, and parent training and education on identifying and preventing race discrimination, including discriminatory harassment;
- analyze and review discipline data and amend policies to ensure non-discriminatory enforcement of discipline policies; and
- develop a districtwide procedure to assess requests for student groups and treat such requests fairly
Now tell me: How exactly can racism die with all these little bigots running around, making grandma proud? Let’s see if this Utah school district can quell what’s really a generational problem with American culture.