Addressing School Segregation: A Youth Perspective

New York schools continue to be some of the most segregated in the United States.

This harsh reality is bad for all children. Studies are coming out regularly to show that diversity, inclusion and equity bless and serve all students.

Students who enjoyed the most diversity in their classrooms throughout the day also scored the highest in each of these measures. In other words, as classrooms became more racially balanced, students felt safer, less bullied, and less lonely.

Read more HERE

With that, more conversation, organizations, committees and planning such as the D15 Diversity Plan and Teens Take Charge have sought to gather and educate the community about the need for diversity and integration in our public schools.

With all of this though, one of the voices that is often sadly left out of the conversation is that of the student. Some organizations do make room for students but can wind up sanitizing their sometimes harsh, real, ground level viewpoint.

Recently, one of our Trellis Crew attended one of these meetings and shared her thoughts…

PS 321 held a diversity meeting to shed light about why integrating schools is important.

My initial reaction is how is this even possible when I live in NYC, the most diverse city ever? As I’m walking there I notice where the school is geographical, 7th avenue has an overwhelming number of white families which makes sense to go to your zone school. At the meeting, there was a panel of some familiar faces and high school kids. One of the girls on the panel story resonated with me because many of her experiences were similar to mine. She stated that after the Trump election she began to receive backlash from her own classmates because she was one of the only minorities in her PWI. She also expressed how her teachers didn’t do anything to stop the comments nor did they comfort her. This destroys one's experience at schools because many minority students face microaggressions because of the color of their skin. Conversations like this can help integrate schools like PS 321 and create a safe space for all kids. When addressing stereotypes and diversifying schools will help gain different perspectives and genuine experiences especially in a diverse city like New York. This made me wonder what about the black failing schools? Are we just going to ignore them? Many black and Hispanics schools don’t receive the same resources as white schools. The disparity is obvious when black and Hispanic kids have metal detectors, share space with other schools and have their high school experiences taken away from them. Black schools have little to none resources which is evident in students grades and their curriculum. Conversations about acknowledging the long term effects of institutionalized racism can lead to what integration can bring in the future.

Anaya Lino-Suazo is a senior at Brooklyn Prospect charter school and a regular contributor and member of the Trellis Crew

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