In trying to enforce equity and diversity within WCSD, is the district creating an environment that encourages tribalism and more contention? We were made aware of an unsettling incident within the district that has us concerned that the answer is “yes”.
A Reno mother notified us that her daughter, who happens to be multiracial, was singled out at school due to the color of her skin. Micaela received an email late one Sunday evening detailing a new club at a WCSD school called Queens in the Making, which would work alongside a local non-profit called Shades of Queening (an organization created to uplift and empower Northern Nevada black women). The school had identified Micaela’s daughter as a "good fit" for the club, and they were inviting her to join by way of two consent letters, one from WCSD’s Equity and Diversity department and another from an outside organization called Shades of Queening. Coincidentally, the Founder of Shades of Queening is Kapreace Young, who is employed by WCSD as an Equity and Diversity Specialist.
Micaela chose to opt her child out of the club. Despite notifying the school of her wishes, the school still pulled her daughter out of class to participate in a club that was run during school hours. When her daughter got to the room, she noticed all the other girls had one thing in common, they had similar skin color. The daughter asked what she was doing there, and was told it was a club to uplift and mentor young black girls. This didn’t make sense to her and she asked “will all girls get to do something like this?”, and “why can’t my friends come and be included?” She didn’t feel like it was fair, and she felt a little embarrassed that she was being told she needed extra support because she is black.
After her daughter got home from school and explained what happened, Micaela was angry. She felt trampled on as a parent and betrayed by the system. She knew what was best for her daughter, and yet her daughter was pulled into the club against her parental wishes and was told she is different -- because she is black. This belief was not what Micaela had worked so hard to instill in her daughter. Her daughter, who hadn’t thought much about her skin color up to that point, was distraught over this incident and came home with a “a yucky feeling” in the pit of her stomach. She felt singled out and her innocence shattered. She was forced to see her differences and she was no longer color blind.
How To Help:
This scenario highlights the problems that do occur when we divide our students by the color of their skin. We further isolate our students from one another based off their skin color / religion / sexual preference…etc. WCSD should be highlighting what unites our students rather than what makes them different. Our district should be looking to mentor and uplift our students together. Clubs that are exclusive, secretive or that are not made accessible to all students should not be part of WCSD. Shades of Queening is a private organization offering services a family can subscribe to privately, outside of school hours.
Contact your principal if you have clubs you feel are not fully accessible to all students. Let your WCSD Board of Trustees know that we as a community MUST focus on unity. This hyper-focus on race is breeding resentment and contention in our students.