SALT LAKE CITY — Incidents of white students targeting black classmates with racial slurs are rising in Utah, according to the local NAACP chapter.

“We’ve had a number of incidents where white students are using the N-words, they’re putting it on media, they’re thinking it’s funny, they’re getting in trouble about it,” said Jeanetta Williams, NAACP Salt Lake Branch president, as she and 41 school district superintendents from around the state met to discuss the issue Monday.

The superintendents had an “open dialogue” about how such racism impacts their schools and discussed ideas for combatting it. Representatives from the Department of Justice also attended to discuss race relations and provide some training.

The problem “has just continued to grow” across the Beehive State, Williams said, adding that she has heard reports from students belonging to many school districts.

Terry Shoemaker, executive director of the Utah School Superintendent’s Association and a former superintendent for Wasatch School District, said he has heard from Utah superintendents that “to some degree,” there have been more incidents of racial comments in the state’s schools.

Some of those incidents have occurred on social media and during athletic events, he said.

Williams estimated since 2016, the local NAACP office has received between 12 and 15 calls about racial bullying in schools from students as young as first grade up into high school. In past years, her office heard about two similar complaints annually on average, Williams said.

“These things have always cropped up from time to time … but for some reason this particular year, this last year, there seems to be more of it,” Shoemaker explained.

Most recent reports involve students using the racial slur, oftentimes posting it on social media and later apologizing.

“But then they don’t look at the consequences before they do it,” she said.

Williams explained that the students targeted with racial …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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