Atlanta suburb
Jillian Ford speaks at a Cobb County school board meeting. She started a group that's trying to open a dialogue about race across the district. | CREDIT COBB COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

Racism in Cobb County Schools Prompting Meetings But No Action

In Cobb County, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, parents and teachers are demanding the majority white school board take racism in the district seriously. The school board has said that it takes it “seriously” but a grassroots movement there wants more.

In March 2017, a white student at North Cobb High School posted a racist rant on social media that threatened to kill Black students. In November 2017, a teacher at South Cobb High School reportedly threatened to hang Black students if they didn’t stop talking. Both of these incidents prompted protests.

DiversityInc also reported a substitute teacher allegedly writing a note this month that called Black children devils and white children angels.

According to local news, the Atlanta suburbs school district “expressed concern” but have so far refused to start a discussion about race.

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“When we are telling the Cobb County School District that our students are being called the n-word, that teachers are telling students that they will lynch them, that white terroristic threats can come out from students at the high school level … and their response is that, ‘We are one system for success that treats all of its students well,’ it’s beyond frustrating,” Jillian Ford, a Cobb schools parent and a faculty member at Kennesaw State University, said.

In Georgia, the damaging effects of redlining and Jim Crow policies still linger.

John Nwosu, a middle school counselor, asked the Cobb County school board to hire a chief equity officer to act as a liaison between the district and schools as well as put together implicit bias training for educators.

But so far, no concrete action has been taken, despite students of color in Cobb being disciplined at higher rates than white students.

Ford says Stronger Together, a community organization, plans to team up with a group called La Gente de Cobb, an organization that advocates for the Latinx community.

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