ALLEGHENY CO., Pa. — A group of North Allegheny School District alumni and current students are working to create change within the district.
They are trying to get administrators to make the district more accepting toward students with diverse backgrounds.
Alumnus Jaime Martinez said he gets a “sinking” feeling in his stomach when reading testimonials from fellow NA students who have come forward about times they have experienced racism while at school.
“I know a lot of those people and to see them speak out in those manners, it just doesn’t sit well with you,” he said.
He and Lucia Bautista, another North Allegheny graduate, created the group NA for Change — made up of current and former students who are working to make the district more inclusive.
They asked students to come forward with their own experiences and posted them on the group’s Instagram page. Just a few testimonials included “Holocaust jokes” and “thinking that being Asian was weird and disgusting.”
“The majority of people attending, working at the school are white. So it’s really hard sometimes to express those grievances and be taken seriously and have them handled seriously as well,” Bautista said.
The group is asking the district to add an anti-racism curriculum, multicultural clubs for every grade and more diverse teaching staff.
A spokesperson for the district issued the following statement to Channel 11:
“The district is committed to working together with our students, staff, and families to continue to build a more inclusive environment.”
Martinez said the district has a responsibility to evolve and be a more inclusive place for all.
“An educational system isn’t just to teach you about World War II, calculus, and chemistry. It’s also about teaching you how to be an exemplary citizen,” he said.
During a public hearing Wednesday, we heard at least one school board member say NA is a leader, and it is able to evolve and will do better when it comes to the issue of racism.
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