A teacher at Zehnder Ranch Elementary School was targeted with hate speech by an elementary student who etched the “N-word” into the classroom whiteboard. Additionally, the student later posted racial slurs targeting the same teacher on Instagram.
The Elk Grove Unified School District took immediate action and the Instagram account was deleted. Moreover, the district has been working towards educating students about hate speech and social media.
Statement from Xanthi Pinkerton, EGUSD
“We take all matters of hate speech very seriously and in solidarity with our entire school community, bullying, hate speech, expressions of hate and hateful acts of any kind are not and shall not be tolerated here or at any school within the Elk Grove Unified School District. School officials are working to support the teacher, address the educational needs of the student by working with the student and their family with regard to the classroom situation and with those involved on the Instagram situation and look toward healing for all involved.”
“In response to hate and bias at school, we stand with our highly diverse and multicultural, multi-ethnic and multilingual community to be vigilant in teaching and expecting social responsibility and positive behavior so that every student and staff member who comes to our school feels completely welcome and connected.”
“Our expectations district-wide and our district policies impact our commitment to our core values of a diverse and tolerant democratic society and to providing a positive and harmonious environment in which student unity and respect for the diverse makeup of the school community is cherished, promoted and protected. Elk Grove Unified does not condone or support behavior by students, staff, or visitors related to school activity or attendance which insults, degrades, or stereotypes any race, gender, disability, physical characteristics, ethnic group, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or religion.”
“The safety of our students and staff is a top priority at our school.”
The EGUSD has faced issues dealing with bullying and hate speech recently. More specifically, parents have brought this up previously to the EGUSD Board as well as discrimination and cover-ups by the EGUSD. Also, there has been discrimination in the past in 2017 with Elk Grove students using social media to disparage African Americans.
According to Pinkerton, Zehnder Ranch Elementary School and all other EGUSD schools have a Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Program (PBIS) that is designed to prevent bullying and hate speech.
The PBIS mission is to “provide learning opportunities that challenge all students to realize their greatest potential.” Moreover, this program focuses on high-quality instruction & curriculum, family & community engagement, and wellness as well as assessing, data analysis, and action. The PBIS program also addresses mental health for students because they want to create a sense of belonging to all students.