In one instance, a student was told to go back to their country by a teacher. In another, a student said a teacher referred to all Arabs as terrorists. These are just two reports of rampant, ingrained racism that students of color in Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia have had to tolerate, The Washington Post reported.
Phillip E. Thompson, former president of the Loudoun NAACP, told the Post that after the 2016 election, bullying in the school district worsened for students of color. Thompson said the NAACP let the school district know but officials did nothing.
“Kids were starting to get a lot more pushy,” Thompson told the Post. “They did nothing to stop it then.”
Loudoun County Public Schools paid for a review released in June that found students of color had to operate within a “hostile learning environment” because the bullying students did not believe there would be consequences for “hateful actions,” according to the Post.
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Last week, Loudoun School Board members condemned white supremacy, passed a resolution denouncing hate and said they would get rid of “opportunity gaps” for students of color.
The school district’s focus on addressing racism comes at a time when the area is seeing a major change in demographics. White students went from making up 63% of students in the 2008-2009 school year to 46% of enrollment for this school year. Students of color make up the rest. The Post reported school data showing Asian students are 23% of Loudoun’s school population, Hispanic students 18%, black students 7% and 6% of students identify as multiracial.
“Change takes practice,” Brenda Sheridan, a Loudoun School Board member, told the Post. “We have to teach it and we have to practice it and we have to expand people’s knowledge base.”