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The classroom should be a place that fosters a desire for learning in a safe environment. Unfortunately, sometimes discrimination rears its ugly head within the confines of a classroom.
As a parent of a minority child, this is scary. Scary beacuse as parents, we want to protect our children, but this proves difficult when they are not in our presence. We expect the adults who are supervising them to protect them for us.
Racism comes of the form of discrimination and isolation. Classmates may make comments like, you can’t sit with us because…..
And that statement is followed by a negative comment about their skin color, ethnic practices or religion.
As a parent, you are not powerless. Here are a few tips for tackling racism in the classroom:
Address With the Teacher
Children are sneaky. Don’t assume that the teacher is contributing to the behavior. The teacher may be unaware that your child is having an issue. Give the teacher an opportunity to fix the problem.
When you talk to the teacher, be sure to provide specific details about who, what, when, where and how often the discrimination has occured. The more details you provide, the easier it is for the teacher to stop the behavior. Be sure to report the information to the teacher right away.
Even if you teach your child to ignore comments, it is easier for the teacher to issue discipline immedietly after an incident has occured than weeks or months later.
If the behavior continues and does not seem to be addressed with the teacher, reach out to an assistant principal, or even the principal.
Reach Out to the School Counselor
If your child seems to have trouble adjusting to a new school and is now dealing with discrimination, talking with the school counselor can be a great help.
Your school counselor can provide classroom guidance lessons to the entire class about diversity, culture and accepting others as a way to deal with the problem with the whole class.
Keep Open Communication With Your Child
Sometimes issues continue to occur after it has been addressed once. Kids feel bad about telling their parents and other adults in school if the discrimination or bullying is still occuring.
Talk with your child to make sure that the problem has been resolved.
Advocate for More Cultural Awareness
If your child is attending a school that isn’t very diverse, they may feel like a fish out of water. If the school is asking for volunteers for various programs like career day, multicultural festivals and PTO meetings, volunteer or ask other minority friends to volunteer.
You can also buy books with diverse characters for your child’s classroom. The teacher would even love for you to read those books to the class.
“It is your responsibility to change society if you think of yourself as an educated person.”–James Baldwin