Local News

Racism in schools a hot topic during Wake County board meeting

Posted February 6, 2018 11:24 p.m. EST

— Racism in Wake County Schools was a focus of concern during a Wake County School Board meeting on Tuesday night.

One of the more recent concerning incidents took place at Broughton High School, which led one school board to call for a change in policy.

"I worry about our students and the impact and the effect on students," said Keith Sutton, a school board member.

Last week, two racially-charged videos were posted online by students at Broughton High School.

In one video, a white student refers to brown people in a derogatory manner, referring to “walls infested with curry.”

“Looking around at all the brown people around here and you’re just like get me the [expletive] out of here,” the student says in the video.

In a second video, two white students are seen imitating a sweeping motion while referring to themselves by using the N-word as other students laugh in the background.

"I think we need to step up from a leadership perspective to discourage some of that behavior," Sutton said.

The Wake County School System already has an Office of Equity Affairs, but Sutton says they can't handle everything on their own.

He suggests policy moves at the school board level.

"Schools are microcosms of what is happening in our larger society," Sutton said.

Stutton believes the new rules would not have to be punitive. They could be teachable moments, that support the students and families of the victims.

"It is important to send a message that these types of behavior are not tolerated," he said. "They will not be tolerated, will not be tolerated in our schools and in our school community. I think that is an important message to send."

District leaders say they cannot comment on issues involving the individual students in the videos.

In an earlier statement, the principal said "anything the causes a disruption to the school environment is subject to disciplinary action."