Education is key to stopping racism in schools, experts say

(WXYZ) – There is a push to tackle bigotry and repeated instances of racism in schools after a series of incidents in southeast Michigan. Hatred and discrimination prompted town halls and experts to raise awareness.

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From parents to civil rights activists to university researchers, everyone agrees that education must be a key part of a solution to ending racism in public schools.

“The children literally told him to go back to your country, they called him a Muslim terrorist. He was in shock, he didn’t know why this was happening to him. He didn’t want to go to school anymore,” he said. Wassim Mahfouz. , director general of LAHC.

As a parent, Wassim Mahfouz remembers the pain of hearing that his son became the target of racism after moving to a new school district.
At the time, her son was a grade 6 student struggling with bigoted comments and hateful notes being passed to him.

“The note literally reads, ‘We hate you and your name.’ Discrimination, racism and bullying go hand in hand, ”said Mahfouz.

Sadly, her son’s experience and others like it did not end. In fact, some think it’s made worse.

A recent walkout at Bloomfield Hills High School came after numerous complaints from students.

“I’ve been called the ‘n’ word a few times,” said one student.

“I don’t understand what the death threats are,” said another student.

“Every time I say ‘don’t do that’ I’m all of a sudden the aggressive black person,” said another student.

The alarming trend has also included incidents in southern Lyon, Farmington Hills and Sanilac County. Community activist pastor Maurice Hardwick not only blames what some children hear at home, but the internet and social media as well.

“Based on social media, the music and the things they see, they think it’s just something to play with or cool. They don’t understand the deep-rooted story of pain and hate.” , said Hardwick.

Hatred and discrimination have been closely studied by academic experts, such as Professor Emilie Smith of Michigan State University.

“From my own research, I know that children discover racial stereotypes as early as grades 2 and 3. It is not that in adolescence they suddenly perceive race. Smith.

Dr Smith stresses the critical importance of learning not only to respect differences, but also the responsibility of school leaders to reinforce the value of diversity.

“Schools that do it well start, they have posters, they have visualizations that show that everyone is welcome here in terms of diversity. They also make it clear that this is something they will not tolerate, ”said Dr Smith.

For Mahfouz, the experience is part of a mission that extends beyond parenthood. As Executive Director of Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities, he works to save lives threatened by racism.

“Some children commit suicide because they feel they don’t belong, they don’t feel appreciated and they feel hated for no reason. We started a program 12 years ago called Youth Leadership and Diversity Education. We bring young people from different cultural backgrounds, different ethnicities, races and we teach them diversity education, college preparation, community service, how to work together, ”he said .

Experts also add that it is important to continue to study disturbing trends that are simply not confined to a single community.

BLACK EDUCATION FOLLOWING COVID-19 AND SYSTEMIC RACISM | Teachers College by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

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