Opponents of CCSD anti-racism policy show why it’s needed

By: and - June 28, 2021 5:57 am
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“Bullies come to our school board meetings, spew their hatred, and then discuss it at home within earshot of their children, who further the cycle of abuse and racism and bigotry at our schools. In short, they are the VERY reason this anti-racism policy is necessary to break the cycle of hatred that’s persisted in our schools.” (CCSD photo)

Racial slurs. Homophobia. Fatphobia. Ableism. 

All were permitted from attendees of the most recent Clark County School Board meeting. 

On the agenda was an item that ought not to have been contentious: Creating an anti-racism policy for the school district that will both educate students on what it means to be anti-racist, and protect our students of color from harm. 

And yet, in the audience, groups of parents sat using slurs against the brave people of color giving testimony, calling white teachers “race traitors,” and mocking those that were differently-abled. 

As Dr. Tonya Walls later poignantly stated in her testimony, it was akin to “what our students of color experience every day in your schoolhouses.”

And the Board of Trustees did next to nothing to curb the abuse, outside of a few warnings issued from Board President Linda Cavazos. It was not until one of us approached the hecklers that security on scene intervened, and even then, they were allowed to continue shouting down those of who supported the creation of an anti-racism policy. 

That this abuse was allowed to continue by those we have elected to create policies that shape the daily lives of our students is shameful. How are students within CCSD supposed to trust the Board of Trustees with their safety at school if they cannot even create a safe environment for the public to voice their opinions? How can students ensure their education is in the best hands when the Board allowed such bad (and racist, bigoted) behavior to continue without reprieve? 

We mourn for the students who may have been watching, or who may see clips circulating on social media today. Students who may come to lose their respect for the very people that are in control of their education and the future that comes after it—students who may be deeply harmed by the language that the Board allowed to fly freely, no matter the racism or bigotry behind the words. 

Plain and simple: These were bullies. And the fact that they were allowed to perpetuate this bullying without consequence was fitting — the existence of an anti-bullying policy within CCSD has been touted as a reason to not craft an anti-racism policy by the very people hurling their slurs and insults (and by some on the Board of Trustees who have historically emboldened these types of folks to be abusive). 

We will not speak for the Black men and women in the room—but we cannot imagine their pain at hearing this racist abuse, and knowing that their children likely endure it every day in our school hallways. These bullies come to our school board meetings, spew their hatred, and then discuss it at home within earshot of their children, who further the cycle of abuse and racism and bigotry at our schools. In short, they are the VERY reason this anti-racism policy is necessary to break the cycle of hatred that’s persisted in our schools. 

We are disappointed, both that this group felt emboldened to insult and harm others in this way in a public forum AND that the Board of Trustees did nothing to protect those in attendance from their hatred. They must do better, for our advocates, for our parents, and—most importantly—for our students. 

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Alexis Salt
Alexis Salt

Alexis Salt is a Clark County School District teacher and was a candidate for the CCSD school board in 2020.

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Shelbie Lynn Swartz
Shelbie Lynn Swartz

Shelbie Lynn Swartz is a Clark County School District alumnus, and a communications professional supporting No Racism in Schools #1865

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