Stand with Black students fighting racism in Central Valley schools!
California’s Central Valley schools have a history of anti-Blackness. Administrators routinely silence students when they try to speak about their experiences, ignore complaints about racism, and do nothing to address the hostile environment Black students face. These students are excessively punished and denied fair investigations and solutions. When concerns are raised, the school districts treat them as one-off instances, minimizing the systemic problem.
Here are some recent disturbing examples:
- Black students in the Visalia Unified School District have been repeatedly harassed and called racial slurs as early as elementary school with no consequences for the perpetrators.
- A teacher at Del Paso Elementary School in Sacramento threw away students’ Black Lives Matter projects and banned the Black parent-volunteer who facilitated the art lesson.
- A teacher at Roosevelt High School in Fresno gave students an assignment to translate African American Vernacular “Black English” into “standard” English.
- Blackface videos were spread at Bullard school in the Fresno Unified School District and Black students were harassed for reporting them.
- In Clovis, a Black bi-racial student was told his afro did not meet the requirements for a “cultural waiver” within its previous dress code.
- A Fresno Unified middle school student was forced to shave his hair as his traditional Black haircut was deemed “distracting.”
Across the board, their complaints have been poorly investigated and swept under the rug by teachers and administrators. Schools should be a place of learning and growth, but Black children are repeatedly traumatized and gaslighted by teachers and administrators who refuse to give them the support they deserve.
Tell the California Department of Education that enough is enough! Central Valley schools must create a welcoming environment for Black students.
These school districts are violating legal obligations under the California Education Code, federal and state laws, its board policies, and administrative regulations. Black students are legally entitled to an education free of discrimination! We will not accept half-hearted investigations into racist school districts. We will not accept the hostile school environments that Central Valley schools have become known for.
The teachers and administrators must investigate complaints of harassment by students and teachers, enforce and/or update bullying rules, organize a Black Student Union or other safe spaces for Black students, and require meaningful staff training on the historical and cultural experiences of Black students. This is just a start. Throughout the process, Black parents and students must be centered in all solutions by these school districts.
Sign our petition to demand that the California Department of Education create policies and ensure that schools are meeting their obligations to create a welcoming environment for Black students in Central Valley schools!
Here is the Petition:
Dear State Superintendent Tony Thurmond,
Every student should feel safe and valued in the classroom but that has not been the case for Black students in Central Valley schools. Administrators routinely silence students when they try to speak about their experiences, ignore complaints about racism, and do nothing to address the hostile environment Black students face. When concerns are raised, the school districts treat them as one-off instances, minimizing the systemic problem. Across the board, complaints have been poorly investigated and consistently ignored by teachers and administrators.
These school districts are violating legal obligations under the California Education Code, federal and state laws, their board policies, and administrative regulations by failing to support and protect Black students. As the governing authority for Central Valley schools, the California Department of Education must create policies, investigate claims from Black parents and students, and fulfill its obligations to ensure that schools are creating a welcoming environment for Black students. The stories and videos here are just a small sample of what students encounter every day.
We stand with these families.