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Wake school officials propose 'regular, serious' conversations about race

Posted March 21

— The Wake County school board on Tuesday evening discussed their plan to prevent the kind of racially charged bullying that led to several recent confrontations.

School officials said a very serious discussion on race needs to happen across the country after videos posted online in recent weeks showed the race problems in Wake County schools.

In one of those videos, Leesville Road Middle School students used racial slurs. Video captured at Wake Forest High School showed racial tension escalating to a physical altercation in the halls.

Board member Kathy Hartenstine said the culture is easier to fix when kids are approached at an early age.

"It is an issue I have seen for so many years in the classrooms and the schools and it's all about the culture that is established there," she said.

District officials said they will not ignore the problem and presented proposed solutions, which include expanding the existing Office of Equity Affairs, which currently supports just 30 schools.

There is also a proposal to place equity teams in all schools in the district and have regular, serious conversations about race throughout the district.

"It is a courageous conversation and a difficult conversation at times," said assistant superintendent for equity affairs Rodney Trice."So, where important decisions are being made, where important conversations are being had, the conversation around race and equity should be at the table."

Board members appeared to appreciate what they heard, but member Keith Sutton said there should also be a more immediate response to the recent events that led to the discussion.

“There are students, families and parents that are experiencing some hurt, some pain, some trauma, and so we have to figure out how to address the now and what is happening now,” he said.

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