Dear Secretary of Education,
I write to you today with an urgent plea. Since the election, there have been many media reports of violence and racial insults toward our children — our Latino, African-American, Asian, and Muslim children. Chants of “build the wall,” references to the N-word, hijabs being torn off. Young women being groped.
I ask you to immediately mandate that all schools proactively send a message of zero tolerance for any kind of prejudice, bullying, and assault in schools. Ask your educators to hold school assemblies. Teach students how to handle violence directed at them. Send communications home. Host parent meetings to discuss safety and tolerance.
As a parent of biracial children, and having suffered from racial prejudice during my own education, I cannot sit back and wait to see how incidents are handled on a one-by-one basis. We must broadly and proactively communicate tolerance and safety in schools to deter any further violence. I know it won’t stop everything. But we need to do something.
School should be a safe haven for all of our children, where they can have the freedom to be themselves and celebrated for their diversity. They are not emotionally prepared, nor should they be, to respond to any kind of hatred or violence. It is simply unfair.
The safety of our children is at risk, and this cannot be tolerated. I have sent letters to our school principals and school superintendent and will share my outreach with other parents. The more days that pass, more children will be hurt. There is simply no time to wait.
I am asking for your help now.
Cathy Chan Butler