- DeKalb County, Ga.: A teacher stands accused of enacting abuse and directing anti-Semitic remarks toward Jewish students. The abuse includes deliberately tripping a girl and holding a small boy down to yell in his face with a megaphone.
- Ventura County, Calif: A Muslim boy felt bullied out of his class by his teacher, who used materials expressly designed to demonize those who follow Islam. The student remains left to study alone in the library during that class period until his court case resolves.
- St. Louis: A Board of Education candidate and former teacher has a history of prejudiced social media musings, such as “’Dreamers’ is just Anchor Kid misspelled” and “Ban Islam in America!”
- McKinney, Tex.: Two teachers step down after tweeting — separately — that Islam is a “satanic death cult” and that transgender people are “mentally ill.”
- Warwick, R.I.: A principal retires in the wake of a video showing him referring to Jewish people and black people with slurs.
- Commerce City, Colo: A principal has been accused of harassing and targeting a teacher because of her Apache heritage.
Those are some of the 64 incidents of hate involving U.S. schools in 32 states that were reported by the media and highlighted in a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project.
The report found that of the 64 incidents reported by news outlets in January, more than two-thirds were at high schools. Nearly half started on or were spread by social media, and more than a quarter involved the use of the n-word.
And, the report said, especially disturbing is that adults played a big role in some of the incidents. Educators and school personnel were cited as perpetrators in nearly a quarter of them. Community members were implicated, as well; in Storm Lake, Iowa, adult fans of high school basketball shook car keys at a team composed mostly of students of color and chanted, “Lock up your cars.”
The state with the most reported incidents was Ohio, with seven. It was the highest rate of hate crimes reported by the project since October 2017, when nearly 90 occurrences in schools were detailed. In one suburb of Cincinnati, there were three incidents involving educators, including one in which a middle school teacher warned a black student that his friends would want to “lynch” him if he didn’t focus on his work.
The report says:
These are just snapshots of a bigger picture: Too many educators, coaches and adults in our schools do not see all students as full human beings worthy of equitable treatment. It’s sad enough to witness how this failure translates into social media posts and abuses of power. But it’s even more unfortunate to realize how much of this prejudice remains unreported. The effects of this attitude on teaching practices, school climate and district policies may be quieter, but it’s equally detrimental to our nation’s students.
Here are examples of other hate crimes recorded in January 2018 and included in the Teaching Tolerance report:
[O]n Martin Luther King Jr. Day, students in Hurricane, Utah, shared an image of a student in a noose, captioned, “happy national [n-word] day.”
In South Carolina, a group of girls celebrated the holiday by donning blackface on Snapchat. A student in Charleston, West Virginia, drew a black person hanging from a tree.
In Massachusetts, a student declared, “[B]lack lives don’t matter; they should be picking my cotton” and that “any queer, any black person, that’s a piece of s—.”