Hate at School:
How to Help Your Child Cope
Today, we’re going to be sharing some reports with you, such as this one released just this year by the Southern Poverty Law Center, titled “Hate at School”.
Teachers told SPLC in informal surveys that in many cases, Trump’s name was being invoked or his words parroted by children who were harassing others based on race, their ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. They noted a disturbing uptake in incidence involving swastikas, derogatory language, nazi salutes, and confederate flags. Children of color reported that they were worried for themselves and for the safety of their families.
Today’s discussion involves the perpetuation of hate, when it comes to school, and why your school and others are still segregated. Hang on to your seat, this is going to be a bumpy ride!
“You can teach tolerance in kids as young as first grade. Kids are able to understand and modify and change and be reflective of their behaviors and how they impact others at a very early age. So to continue to let behavior go, is effectively sanctioning this behavior.” - Misasha
Misasha shares a personal experience involving her young son’s questions about Trump and the dilemma, upon reflection, of trying to answer her son’s questions honestly.
Sara and Misasha discuss the Southern Poverty Law Center’s 2019 Report on “Hate at School”.
In Wisconsin, dozens of male high school students, almost all white, were seen giving a nazi salute in a prom photo.
In Idaho, elementary school staff dressed up as Mexicans and Trump’s wall on Halloween.
At an elite private school in New York City, a video went viral involving two 6th grade girls wearing black faces and swinging their arms around like apes.
In New York, a middle school student wrote in a text book that he will lynch the black husband of a white teacher.
In Illinois, white elementary students called black students apes and monkeys.
In Minnesota, a middle school student tells a Latinx child that his mother should be in jail with all the illegal immigrants.
In Massachusetts, a 10 year old Muslim girl receives a note saying, “You’re a terrorist. I will kill you.”
In Oklahoma, a 5th grader draws a swastika and writes, “White Power” on his hand.
Intention doesn’t matter, but impact does. If the things you say have an impact and hurt your targets, then it doesn’t matter whether you made the comments out of ignorance or you made them out of hatred.
It’s not always easy to recognize that what comes out of your mouth may hurt somebody, so we need to continue to educate ourselves over things that we can say to hurt others unwittingly.
When you accidentally hurt someone, you apologize, and learn from that, and you’re more careful next time.
Study by Daniel L. Ames and Susan T. Fiske illustrates the psychological impact of intent. Participants in the study read about a CEO who cost the employees part of their paychecks through a bad investment. In one scenario, it was said that the CEO intentionally wanted the employees to work harder for a profit in the future. In the second scenario, it was said that the CEO simply made a bad investment, it was an unfortunate mistake. Participants saw the paycheck cut as more damaging to employees and their families in the former scenario, even though the employees suffered the exact same objective financial loss. In a series of similar studies, it was consistently shown that people are more motivated to assign blame when a harmful act is seen as intentional.
SPLC documented 821 school-based incidents of hate that were reported to the media in 2018.
By comparison, in their study of K-12 educators who responded to a specific questionnaire that they passed out, over 3,000 such incidences were reported in 2018 alone.
More than 2/3 of the 3,000 educators who responded to the questionnaire witnessed a hate or biased incident in their school during the fall of 2018. Fewer than 5% of the incidents witnessed by educators were actually reported in the news.
Racism appeared to be the motivation behind most hate and biased incidents in school, accounting for 63% of incidents reported in the news, and 33% of incidents reported by teachers.
Out of the incidents reported by educators, those involving racism and anti-Semitism were the most likely to be reported in the news media.
Anti-Latinx and anti-LGBTQ incidents were the least likely to be reported in the news media.
Most of the hate and biased incidents witnessed by the educators were not addressed by school leaders. No-one was disciplined in 57% of the instances. 9 times out of 10, administrators failed to denounce the bias, and they failed to reaffirm school values.
To ensure that students are safe from harm, SPLC recommends that educators must take vigorous, pro-active measures to counter prejudice, and to promote equity and inclusiveness. Educators must act swiftly and decisively to address all incidents of hate and bias when they happen, with a model that emphasizes communication, empathy, reconciliation, and support to those who are harmed.
Misasha provides historical details on the Brown v Board of Education case and explains “De facto” segregation - More recent forms of school segregation that are supported by alternative mechanisms, which are slightly more difficult to regulate through law: or segregation that happens as a matter of fact.
In a recent New York Times article, more than half of the nation’s school children are in racially-concentrated districts, where over 75% of students are either white or non-white.
School districts are often separated by income.
Case Study: Central High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the late 70’s was not just a renowned local high school, but it was one of the signature integration success stories. In 2000, another Federal Judge reversed the desegregation mandate that had been in place for the last 20 years didn’t need to be in place anymore because it had achieved integration success and the school could manage that going forward.
Civil Rights Project 2011 Report statistics are discussed.
What is the difference between desegregation versus sincere and internally motivated integration?
96% of major employers say it’s important to be comfortable working with colleagues, customers, and/ or clients from diverse, cultural backgrounds.
How private schools have gotten around the “De facto” segregation.
Questions we need to ask ourselves and taking a closer look at our school districts.
Reports and Articles:
Southern Poverty Law Center’s 2019 Report on “Hate at School”
Intentional Harms Are Worse, Even When They’re Not
Brown v Board of Education - Landmark Decision Regarding Racial Segregation in Schools
Still Separate, Still Unequal: Teaching about School Segregation and Educational Inequality
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