In the state of Pennsylvania, one of the region’s most prided school districts is dealing with a significant increase in racist activity carried out at the hands of white students who have sought to chastise their minority counterparts.
According to the Morning Call newspaper, Lehigh Valley Schools recently had a principal at one of the area’s high schools take some active steps to address the rampant racist activity that is plaguing a large portion of the district. Southern Lehigh Principal Christine Siegfried held a special assembly earlier this month to address this issue.
Siegfried also sent letters home with students for parents to read. These letters discussed the severity of these racially-motivated acts of hate by students. The letters also described what the school intends to do in order to curb the problems of racial slurs, swastika graffiti, and Nazi salutes committed by a number of students at the predominately white Southern Lehigh.
Many education and behavioral science experts that are observing the situation in these Lehigh Valley schools where increased levels of student-on-student racism is occurring attribute these incidents to one thing: The rise of President-elect Donald J. Trump.
Peter Lawler, a government professor at Berry College in Rome, Georgia told the Morning Call that government officials and Donald Trump himself have to do more to communicate the reality that racist behavior by students in schools in the wake of the election must not be tolerated.
“They’ve got to go on TV and say, no more bullying in schools. But I don’t think it’s going to happen,” Lawler told the Morning Call.
In the neighboring Pennsylvania region of Saucon Valley, racism in high schools is alive and well. Qyshira Rivers, a 17-year-old black senior at Saucon Valley High School shared her painful story with the Morning Call about what she has experienced at her school.
“After Trump became elected, that’s when it got worse, and even before the whole Trump thing they were coming at us on social media,” Rivers told a Morning Call reporter.
The response to this growing problem in these Pennsylvania school districts cannot simply be a local response. All facets of this nation’s education administration at the state and federal levels must address and confront incidents of race bullying in this nation’s schools. The cost of ignoring it is too high.