Parents say children bullied over race at Heritage

Parents say children bullied over race at Heritage

HOMER — The Heritage School board heard from parents Monday night that their children had been the target of racial bullying.

One parent said her son was called a racial slur, knocked down the bleachers and suffered a concussion. Her daughter was told that she could not use a water fountain due to her skin color.

The parents read letters from students who said they were afraid for their safety, felt threatened at school and did not want to attend school due to bullying.

The parents asked the district to enforce and revise its bullying policy to make it clear to students and parents that this behavior would not be tolerated.

Superintendent Allen Hall said the district does have a bullying policy and does send teachers and staff to bullying workshops. He said they also discuss the issue with their students.

"We have a resource officer that comes in and talks to our students," he said. "We take your comments very seriously and would love to work with you on these issues."

Hall said he was going to meet with the parents in the future to see what more the district can do to prevent bullying.

"We don't want anyone, for any reason, to feel uncomfortable coming to school," Hall said. "Certainly, there is a small minority of students who do the things you said and we do not approve of that."

Hall said he could not share what discipline the alleged bullies had received due to privacy laws.

Sections (2):News, Local
Topics (1):Education

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Stay.calm wrote on May 08, 2013 at 7:05 pm

As someone who is around Heritage schools and communities on a fairly regular basis- It is so upsetting to me that such a great school district has been shown in a negative light. There is no justification for a racial comment, however, let's all keep in mind these points:

1. Racial slurs are said too often in a joking manner (towards white students just as often or more) and Jr. High aged kids have a hard time judging when their peer is going to take a comment jokingly (most of the time they do), or if they will use the comment to get them in trouble. Comments are taken out of context and used against others to make a point or "win" an argument when the original intent was to be funny, not to degrade.

2. Heritage Schools are great places to learn. Teachers and administrators try their best to help all students understand and respect each other. Heritage's communities, like many small communities, have many of the most caring, hard working, and respectful families. From experience, the district is a great place to live, go to school, and raise a family.

Let's all remain calm and do our best to teach our kids to not use racial comments in any situation.

I also encourage the News Gazette to come to Heritage and report on all of the positive things happening there!!

 

Tberry wrote on May 10, 2013 at 9:05 am

As a parent of African American students in the district, I can tell you that racial bullying is a very real problem.  I have to say I have not heard of racial bullying toward any white students???  I have not heard of any white students being told they are second class citizens because they are white.  I have not heard of any of any white students being told not to drink out of the water fountain.  I have not heard of any white students in a 98 percent caucasian district going home in tears and wanting to be home schooled because of racial bullying.  Really?  A joking manner?  Tell me what's funny?  Tell me where is the win?  You can't be serious!  Obviously someone who has never gone thru something like this would never be able to understand. 

As a school I think Heritage is a good school with some great teachers.  The problem is when staff who see these things going on turn a blind eye to it and choose to do nothing.  We have every right to advocate for our children and I will continue to do so as long as I have breath in me.

"Evil prevails when good men choose to do nothing".