Press Release: 10.10.14

In the wake of recent incidents of racial slurs and alleged discriminatory acts in local schools (such as in Plainfield and West Hartford), please see this press release from the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities.

CHRO ADDRESSES RECENT INCIDENTS OF RACIAL SLURS
AND ALLEGED DISCRIMINATORY ACTS IN LOCAL SCHOOLS
HARTFORD, CT – In recent weeks, news coverage has brought to light several incidents of racial slurs and other discriminatory acts alleged to have occurred in schools across the state of Connecticut. These occurrences are the latest in an unsettling trend, one which calls for swift intervention by all those dedicated to fostering safe school environments.
     Events such as those that have allegedly occurred in Plainfield and West Hartford are stark reminders that acts of bigotry and discrimination can arise at any time and in any place. They also emphasize the ongoing importance of promoting school climates in which individuals are treated with dignity and respect. The lessons that young people learn, both in the classroom and on the athletic field, stay with them throughout their lives. It is therefore imperative that educators and administrators take proactive steps to keep school climates free of hate, intolerance, discrimination, bullying, and harassment.
     The Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) is firmly committed to the belief that no one should be subjected to acts of bigotry or discrimination, particularly in schools. To that end, the CHRO has for many years held events specifically designed for young people to learn about and discuss issues of diversity and equality, including an annual Kids’ Court forum and Kids’ Speak essay contest. The CHRO has also worked with schools and districts throughout the state to make both educators and students aware of the importance of diversity and the real harm caused by intolerance and discrimination.
     “We are deeply troubled by the reports of discriminatory conduct at school functions. Young people should be able to go to school and attend school events without fear of being discriminated against or harassed.” said Cheryl Sharp, Deputy Director of the CHRO. “We urge anyone who believes they may have been subjected to any type of disparate treatment due to their protected status to immediately contact us about filing a claim,” added Executive Director Tanya Hughes.
     The CHRO invites not only the school districts involved in these recent events but all districts in the state of Connecticut to contact the agency to set up trainings and workshops with students, teachers, and administrators about the importance of diverse and inclusive schools.
     The CHRO is one of the oldest state civil rights agencies in the nation, established in 1943. Its continuing mission is to “eliminate discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement and to establish equal opportunity and justice for all persons within the state through advocacy and education.”
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Press Contact: Michael Roberts / michael.e.roberts@ct.gov / 860-541-4715
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