Addressing racist harassment in Minnesota schools

Rally to support Prior Lake High School student
A megaphone with Black Lives Matter stickers on it sits on the ground during a demonstration outside of U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Protesters were standing in solidarity with Nya Sigin, a 14-year-old Prior Lake High School student who was the target of a racist tirade posted online by a classmate.
Nicole Neri for MPR News

Several cases of racist harassment and hate speech have recently been reported at Minnesota schools. In late February, two school districts announced their athletics teams would not compete against New Prague High School after students yelled racist taunts at student athletes. During that same week, a Prior Lake High School basketball player found a racist note in her gym bag, prompting the team to cut its season short. Prior Lake High School also received national attention in November 2021 when a video of two students berating a Black student with a racist slur went viral. 

These incidents can be traumatizing for everyone, particularly for students of color. So why do they keep happening? And what can educators and parents do to address them? 

MPR News host Angela Davis talks with a school counselor, a psychologist and Minnesota students about racism in schools, how students are impacted and how to address racist incidents when they happen. And she’ll also talk with a Minnesota lawmaker about how the state legislature is trying to address discrimination and bullying in schools. . 

Guests: 

  • Derek Francis is the manager of counseling services for Minneapolis Public Schools and he is on the board for Minnesota School Counselors Association.

  • Virginia Huynh is a professor at California State University, Northridge. She studies how racism and discrimination affects the academic, psychological and physical well-being of children and adolescents of color.

  • Rep. Hodan Hassan is a DFL lawmaker in the Minnesota House of Representatives. She is the vice chair of the House Education Policy Committee

    Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.

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