Highlighting Racism Policies
The William S. Hart Union High School District has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination but does not have a set procedure for reporting racism — nor has the board expelled any students for hate-motivated incidents, a board member said Saturday. . .
“If you don’t highlight policies, if you don’t give them a priority, it is like they don’t really exist,” school board member Gloria Mercado-Fortine said. “Looking at our policies, we realized we don’t really do any training in terms of how that policy is implemented.”
In most cases, teachers have discretion over where or where not to take complaints of discrimination or harassment, Mercado-Fortine said.
“In some cases they might have thought they could resolve it on their own,” she said. “So that’s one thing that was really brought to light, is how are these complaints handled? How are these hate-motivated behaviors handled?”
“There really wasn’t a procedure,” she said.
Since a media storm on allegations of racism at Valencia High School last month, city, county, state and federal officials have clambered to focus on the Santa Clarita Valley — and more specifically the Hart district and Valencia High.
Many students at the school said they felt their complaints fell on deaf ears; others said they didn’t experience any racism.
Hart spokeswoman Pat Willett said it’s not just a problem with the schools. It’s a problem with the community at large, she said.
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