Racial tension in school

By: Vincent Knight

My school has been more and more racially insensitive. I go to The Paideia School, which is 27% minority students. At my school, there has been more tension revolving around racial bias in the classroom and outside of the classroom.

The 2015-16 school year especially, the teachers profiled a lot of the minority kids, and punished the minority students more than the white students. The minority students didn’t get the same resources as the white students. Nationwide, and especially in the South, segregation is still around in school. This is what started to build up tension at my school.

The racial tension in my school also built up because of insensitive acts that white students planned or performed. The tension is not just a Paideia problem; it is a problem in America and Georgia and the South especially.

One of the reasons that I believe there was so many problems at Paideia is that segregation is making a return, so people don’t get exposed to all kinds of ethnic groups at younger ages, especially as a private school.

According to The Atlantic and PBS, private schools, like mine, and public schools are getting more and more segregated based on socioeconomic backgrounds and race. I asked six black students at the GSPA camp say and most said that their school was 70-90% black. I also asked six white students about the racial breakdown of their school and most said that their schools were 60-90% white.

The private school students that I asked always went to majority white schools, so black and Latino students are evidently getting fewer resources than white students.

And in Georgia schools like MiKayla Ladson’s, a student of Marietta High School, the honors courses are disproportionally affected. Ladson said that her school is approximately 70% black, but that the students that take AP and honors courses are 60% white. AP courses are very important when applying for college, and college is important in making money, so this impacts the growth of the middle class and minorities in Georgia and America.

Nationwide the surveys say white students are getting more resources than black and Latino students. The Atlantic says, “Black and Latino students represented 16 percent and 21 percent of high school enrollment nationwide… But they were only 8 percent and 12 percent of the students taking the advanced-level math class calculus.”

Despite having minority programs in my high school, when the minority students are enrolled into the Paideia high school instead of the elementary school is too late. The introduction of minorities as high school students occurs and doesn’t affect the relationships that people have. The school basically becomes separated based on race.

I entered Paideia in ninth grade as a new student. When I started to make friends, they were other minority students who came to Paideia in the ninth grade. The new minority students almost always attended schools that were mainly people of the same race. Out of five new minority students I asked that attend my school, five said that their previous school was not diverse. So, minority students aren’t really exposed to white students.

On the other hand, most of the students that went to Paideia for middle school had already established their groups of friends and were white, so this creates a sort of divide in the school between working class minority students and upper middle class white students.

Because of the separation of ethnic groups, when the black students asked for different privileges within my school, the segregation lead to different quarrels and debates because the white students did not understand our problems.

Some of the requests asked for by the minority students were: not to be profiled, to get into AP courses, and to be respected.

But, when white students do things like interrupting a minority student or international club it makes the divide bigger. When white students plan to bring dogs to school during an assembly on micro-aggressions and racial profiling to undermine the speakers it makes the divide bigger. These are only some of the incidents that happened at my school and they are a product of segregation and America’s school system.

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