Exposing racism shouldn’t lead to punishment.
A high school student in Edmonton was suspended from school after she took a screenshot of a Snapchat she received and posted it on Twitter to condemn its racist content.
The Snapchat was a picture of black students in a school hallway with the words, “Get out of my way n****rs” typed across it.
The school asked the student to take down her Twitter post, and then suspended her for making an inappropriate post on social media.
If anything, this student should be recognized for taking a stand, and not sweeping a racist attack on her fellow students under the rug. The person who should’ve been punished is the student who took the Snapchat in the first place. But there’s no news of the school disciplining the student in question.
Meanwhile the student in the Snapchat feels unsafe and asks her father to drive her to school. It’s despicable that a student feels scared to come to school, especially without any redress by the institution.
In adhering too closely to policy, administrators sometimes don’t exercise discrimination on whether their decisions are correct or not.
Technically, this student did post something inappropriate on social media, but the context in which she did so makes all the difference.
Educators are supposed to be role models for students who are young and impressionable, and this suspension sent absolutely the wrong message.
Using social media to call someone out isn’t the same as a verbal confrontation. Anyone can chime in, and it stays up forever. In light of these students’ young age, there may have been a better way to address racism than immortalizing it on the Internet.
But there’s no way this student is going to learn how to confront racism effectively if she’s simply sent home from school.
The bottom line is that making racist comments is far more reprehensible than calling out those comments, regardless of the way in which she did it.
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