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Howard County has more work to do on school equity | READER COMMENTARY

Japsimran Kaye of Clarksville, a 2014 graduate of River Hill High School, supports diversity and redistricting during a Howard County School Board meeting last November. File.
Japsimran Kaye of Clarksville, a 2014 graduate of River Hill High School, supports diversity and redistricting during a Howard County School Board meeting last November. File. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun)

As Howard County makes strides to be a progressive community and align with our constantly changing society, we continue to see a pattern of racial inequity in the workplace, in housing distribution and access, and in public health. This problem does not fall to our local leaders alone. Many of us, students and young adults in Howard County, would like to see a change in this county’s long-standing discriminatory practices towards minority groups, both explicit and implicit.

Students have a unique experience with racism and discrimination that affects us in the classroom, in our communities and in the workplace. Young voices are propelling motions for racial equality across the nation including in Howard County through petitions, protests and other forms of activism. Hundreds of students have testified to experiencing discrimination in Howard County schools. Examples include the aftermath of the school redistricting plan, racial profiling of students of color by school resource officers, the Eurocentric school curriculum, use of racial slurs by students and teachers, and so many more troubling accounts.

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Moreover, in both elementary and secondary schools in Howard County, 80% or more of the teaching staff is white. What message are we sending students of color when they have little to no representation in their schools? As students pushing for an open dialogue about this county’s past and present discrimination toward minority groups, we need our leaders to provide renewed protections and equitable policies for marginalized minority groups. The Howard County Council has taken the first steps to accomplish this goal through its proposed Racial Equity Task Force under the direction of Councilmembers Christiana Rigby and Opel Jones (“Howard County Council to introduce bills to end ICE contract, create racial task force following summer protests,” Sept. 2). HoCo Students for Equity support this effort and are dedicated to the work ahead to create a more equitable Howard County.

Riley Macon, Laurel

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The writer is founder of HoCo Students for Equity.

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