School safety concerns push black and Latin parents to homeschool their children

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In May, the Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, issued a decree ban government entities from enforcing mask warrants, which has since been attached in the state justice system. District attorneys said they would not prosecute schools Where cities who decide to require masks. In August, Abbott released a decree ban vaccination warrants. Of the state’s 5.3 million students, at least 51,000 have been infected with COVID-19 since the state began tracking infection rates for this school year on August 8. Blacks, Latinxes and Native people face at least twice the risk of infection, illness and death from COVID-19 compared to white people, which may be a contributing factor to their safety concerns. Olivera knows many Texan parents who oppose the state’s refusal to institute mask warrants in schools, but said the problem of a dangerous school environment predates the pandemic.

“Honestly, I really think the main reason a lot of Hispanic parents start homeschooling is twofold: One has been… the rhetoric that has been promoted over the past four or five years in the past. of the last presidency. I think a lot of parents felt their kids weren’t safe because they were being harassed or tagged or there [were] just a few incidents in schools, ”Olivera said. “I had parents who said, you know my kids just can’t get through this and I want to try homeschooling.”

Joyce Burges, co-founder and program director of National Black Home Educators, an organization that provides support to black families seeking to home-school their children, says black parents are not just motivated to educate their children at home by because of the pandemic, but because of what they have seen of their children’s learning environment since the start of Zoom and the online courses.

Equally important, Burges said, is the emotional, mental and psychological growth that parents are able to provide through a program that centers, rather than erases, black history and culture. Given the nationwide attack on the anti-racism curriculum in schools, the refusal to recognize black history in the context of American white supremacy could deter black parents from returning their children to the traditional classroom.

“There is no content regarding black Americans and their contributions and achievements, whether in music or art, history, [and] science, ”Burges said. “There is no well-formatted or well-developed curriculum in your mainstream school setting that promotes the achievement of African Americans. And some black parents are really upset because their kids aren’t learning or inspired [and] do not have the role models to learn more about our people and our culture.

In addition to issues with non-inclusive programs and some COVID-19 safety precautions in some school districts, concerns about the potential extension of police surveillance on school campuses have also deterred some parents from sending their children back to class. Studies have shown that black students are the most targeted by police on campus, adding to the safety concerns black parents already face when they send their children to school.

Katherine Dunn, director of the Opportunity to Learn program at the Advancement Project’s national office, understands why black and brown parents decide not to pursue education in school.

“I think it’s a very understandable choice given the conditions a lot of students are facing right now,” Dunn said. “Schools have not served black and brown students. These are not places where they are safe.

For Dunn, what seems important at the moment is to recognize that the impact of the pandemic on public education is an opportunity to organize systemic changes in the educational apparatus of the country. To create safe schools and define what safety means for their children, parents and communities must demand that school boards and local authorities work to decarcerate schools, increase funding for art programs and music and advocate for smaller classes. Dunn cites Oakland, Calif., Where the Black Organizing Project has worked in the East Bay community for nearly a decade to eliminate Oakland Unified School District Police Department.

Ultimately, Dunn said, “We see freedom in education as… you can show up in school, be safe, feel liberated, be and learn in community with your peers.”

Ray Levy-Uyeda is a Bay Area-based freelance writer who covers justice and activism. Find them on Twitter @raylevyuyeda.

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