West indian culture

Student exposes apparent culture of racism in Rockford public schools, leaders respond

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) – A student at Rockford High School has made his district aware of a culture of racism that is unchecked, which deeply affects students of color.

Brady Smith wrote a disturbing report which he emailed to hundreds of teachers and administrators. This highlights what he said to be a nasty truth in the neighborhood.

“I’m not alone,” Smith said. “There are other people who know how it feels.”

After expressing his concerns about the treatment of his black and brown classmates, he asked current and former students of color in grades 9-12 to share their school experiences.

“It was very revealing to me,” Smith said.

A 2014 Rockford Native American graduate responded by saying, “A staff member dressed in a full native headdress and made fun of my culture openly during school hours. I wanted to throw up.

A current African American student said, “I also had to point out a video of a child saying the n word and saying ‘Go pick cotton in the field like we did (n-word). “

Even some white students recognized that there might be a problem.

“As a white man who grew up in Rockford, I was not held responsible for how I viewed people who were different from me,” wrote one student. “There were minimal controls in place to report harmful behavior from students, including myself. “

Smith posted a link to the 137-page Google document on his Instagram.

Rockford Public Schools Acting Superintendent Korie Wilson-Crawford acknowledged Smith’s report in a staff-wide email. Based on staff feedback, she said the report appears to be “more puzzling than enlightening,” but the district will continue efforts to be more inclusive.

When asked what the changes will look like, Wilson-Crawford replied, “It should look like more inclusive classrooms and students feel like they can say who they are and can present. how they are and it should sound like interventions that happen when things go wrong. “

News 8 asked Wilson-Crawford if the Rockford Public School District has a race issue. She did not deny it, but said: “I think our society has a problem with cultural awareness, and I think Rockford is not immune to that.”

Wilson-Crawford said his staff will be trained in cultural awareness and students in grades 9 to 12 will have the opportunity to share their truths in an upcoming school-sanctioned inquiry.

Meanwhile, Smith said he does not regret sending his report and only hopes it will change the school’s culture for future generations.

“I think what I have done is important, and I hope it will motivate them to take action,” Smith said.

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