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Thursday, November 17, 2016

The ACLU just got it so right in a letter to the Royal Oak Schools Superintendent

Posted By on Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 4:37 PM

A day after Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States of America, students at a Royal Oak middle school were videotaped chanting, "Build a wall" to the dismay of their Latino classmates. The video went viral, but the school addressed the matter quickly, sending out a letter to parents and making it to the public as a media release.

Now, the America Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is chiming in. They sent a letter to Royal Oak schools superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin urging him to use this incident as a way to teach students about inclusion and respect.

And they get it. They really get it. They get that it's unfair to blame children for rhetoric they likely absorbed during a vicious election cycle, on TV, or at the dinner table. And it's up to teachers (and parents) to correct this behavior before it spirals into a viral internet video.
“As abhorrent, hurtful and wrong as this kind of action is, we don’t think children should be demonized for this sort of behavior, especially when it’s likely that they’re just repeating what they’ve heard at campaign rallies, on the news or in their own homes,” said Mark Fancher, staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan’s Racial Justice Project. “We think the district has an obligation to show these children the harm in their actions and to teach the importance and value of respecting the history and culture of others.”
A press release from the ACLU states that Lewis-Lakin quickly replied to their letter and in a manner they found satisfactory, stating, "We are very pleased the superintendent responded immediately to our letter and expressed a sincere commitment to addressing the problems. The ACLU of Michigan looks forward to working with him and the school district in any way we can.”

You can read the ACLU's letter here.

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