Our group arranged interviews with a variety of students, teachers, and administrators from different schools. We made sure to interview people with a multitude of ethinicities and races so our research was as thorough and nonpartisan as possible. It was interesting to hear the response from each person and their perspectives on how racial bullying affects students in their school. Our goal in sharing these summaries is to reveal real life stories of racial bullying instances to enlighten and maybe even to relate to. The last names of the interviewees will remain anonymous.
1. Casey - Latoka West High School student
2. Ian - Latoka West High School teacher
3. Taylor - Butler Tech High School student
4. Becky - Rolling Prairie Elem. School prinicipal
5. John - Penn High School teacher
6. Maria - Wilson Primary School teacher
7. Patricia - Delphi High School teacher
8. Brandon - Delphi High School teacher
1. From the first interview with Casey, we got a good perspective of what goes on in the student’s world at Lakota West. We found out that even though there isn’t that much racial bullying that she experienced or saw, she did see a lot of it with the parents of the students. Mostly involving outside of the school activities, but nonetheless there was racial discrimination going on involving young students. We also found out that much of that discrimination was against African American students.
2. With Ian, we saw a different perspective of the same school. We found out that even though racial bullying might not be prominent all over the school, it definitely occurs. People make comments that are insensitive and a bit racist in the hallways and it normally goes unreported. However, these comments can change the way students act in the classroom. These comments can make people not feel as comfortable in class, and may even make them participate less in class.
3. From Taylor, we saw a perspective from a different school. We learned that racial bullying is not super common at this high school either, but it does happen as well. However, this school is a bit more diverse so the racial discrimination happens against all different kinds of races, not just African Americans. We also found from this interview that many students do not report racial bullying when they experience it or have friends that have dealt with it. Many people try to ignore the action and move on from it without saying anything to anyone.
4. With Becky and her elementary school, all types discipline is addressed in corporation wide plan addressed in the Student Code of Contract. The school guidance counselor provides “citizenship” classes every other week to each classroom, addressing the issue of bullying. Bullying is usually seen between students in the same racial group rather than minority verses majority race bullying. As a principal, Becky has never personally dealt with a racial bullying problem. She instills character education and life skill problems early on to prevent bullying as best as she, as a principal can.
5. John's high school is not a very diverse school. Most of the student and teacher population consists of Caucasian students. John, being a multi-racial student, feels as if his school has a reputation for racial bullying. Not only has he witnessed racial bullying throughout his public school education, he has also been a victim. When reporting his bullying experience to a staff member, John felt as if no process was made. He was even blamed by the “bully” for bullying in the past. A cycle of anger between races begins after bullying occurs furthering the gap between racial groups, in his opinion. John believes that nothing can be done at high school level to prevent racial bullying; he believes it will happen and that in order to put a halt on future racial bullying, children must learn that it is wrong to discriminate against race or ethnicity at elementary age or younger.
6. From Maria's elementary school, bullying is typically sent for the principal to address, but the staff member makes the call at time of the offence by following the schools’ written policy. Starting this year, cultural awareness is a common topic in every classroom reminding students that there is a zero-tolerance for racial bullying for the school. However, similar with Rolling Prairie, racial bullying is not the most common type of bullying. When a case of racial bullying is brought up to Maria, she has the students first explain the situation as she gives feedback about how hurtful bullying can be to both the victim and bully. If an agreement is not reached, the issue is taken to the principal who handles it from there. She believes that racial bullying causes anxiety, fear, anger, and shame preventing the student from concentrating in class.
7. From Patricia's interview we learned that racial bullying actually seems to be increasing at Delphi. No student has ever come to her personally about it but she’s noticed bullying in the school herself. She’s observed a lot of brutality towards the Caucasian and Hispanic students. Delphi has tried stepping in to solve the problem by introducing a project called Rachel’s Challenge. Rachel’s Challenge is a school-wide program that prepares students with strategies to help them combat bullying. Patricia thinks that racial bullying can affect a child’s learning ability because students need to feel safe in their environment first before they have to the motivation to learn. She believes a live skit wouldn’t be helpful for the actual bullies because they have their own mindset on what’s right and wrong. But it would be helpful for other students to recognize bullying and the importance of reporting it to a teacher or administrator so they can handle the situation.
8. From Brandon’s interview, it seems students don’t perceive that racial bullying that goes in at Delphi. Patricia declared that bullying seems to be increasing at the school while Brandon stated racial bullying is not a problem at the school. It makes us wonder if students even know what racial bullying looks like. Maybe the students are so used to racial slanders that the bullying that goes on doesn’t seem like a big deal. Brandon believes racial bullying instigates from the family and parents who are not accepting of people with a different background. He thinks it is up to the school then to punish those racist bullies and to make them see the wrong doings of their actions to change the way they perceive others.
This firsthand knowledge gives us a perspective of how common the issue really is, and what is being done to combat racial bullying. As a whole, we were able to determine that this is still an issue with many minority and multiracial students. Some schools have shown they have taken this issue seriously and either hold a zero-tolerance policy on racial bullying or have held a convocation to address the issue. However, one account given has claimed that nothing was done by a high school when he was bullied. His solution involved implementing the ideas of an anti-racial bullying into children at an earlier age- when students are still new to the school experience. He probably feels like many other students when it comes to racial bullying- learning these issues at an earlier age can be more effective than when students have already reached high school.