Home RISE to host education panel Friday evening on racism in local public schools
Local, Schools

RISE to host education panel Friday evening on racism in local public schools

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Parents and local school officials are encouraged to participate Friday evening in a discussion about racism in public schools.

“The goal is that we make a collective effort,” said RISE co-founder Chanda McGuffin of the education panel that will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at 1320 Ohio Street, Suite D, Waynesboro.

Panelists McGuffin and Mary Baldwin University history professor Amy Tillerson-Brown will speak, as well as Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro parents.

“The children are being called the ‘n word’ and there’s not really repercussion until the black child responds,” McGuffin said of local schools.

Incidents in recent years have not been isolated to local high schools, but also at middle and elementary schools. McGuffin said that for a 4th-grade child to know the ‘n word’ and call a classmate that word, they are learning the word at home.

Students are telling teachers and teachers are discussing the situation amongst themselves, but apparently not with administrative staff.

“If we start talking about it, first of all we have to acknowledge it,” said RISE co-founder Sharon Fitz, who will moderate the panel discussion.

Fitz said that RISE does not want to be adversaries with local school systems, but school staff and administration need to start dealing with what’s happening.

“We’re in 2024. It should not be happening,” Fitz said.

After Friday’s panel discussion, RISE will plan what to do next because public school children are “being traumatized” by racism.

Fitz said that the cause of group fights in local public schools often turns out to be the result of a student standing up for a friend who has been bullied with racism.

Racism has become the culture in Valley public schools.

“As far as I’m concerned, the schools’ silence is an endorsement,” Fitz said.

Staunton branch of NAACP responds to reports of racism in local, Virginia schools – Augusta Free Press

‘We can work on this’: Community members allege racism in Augusta County Schools – Augusta Free Press


Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.

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