MARS, Pa. - Several parents and students are fed up over alleged racial slurs and bullying that they say have been an ongoing issue within the Mars Area School District.
At a school board meeting Tuesday night, parents and students begged the district to address and prevent the racial tension after a boy was suspended for starting a fight with another who was calling him a racial slur.
One student flat-out said she won’t let hate win and will fight the problems.
“This is very hard for me because I have a kindergartner,” a mother said.
Some parents could hardly get the words out.
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“A student told my daughter that she is different,” another mother said.
They say their children are the victims of racial slurs, harassment and bullying.
“My daughter today took sun screen in because she didn't want to get darker because kids in the class say to her, ‘You're already dark,’” the first mother said.
“The N word. The N word repeatedly and it went on for more than five minutes before the teacher shut it down,” the second mother said.
The fight between the two boys especially has people calling for action. Parents and students say a white student called a biracial student the N word, which led to a fight. They say the student who was called that word got suspended, and the other one didn't get in trouble.
“When I heard this had happened to a family that I know to be a wonderful family, I was sickened,” parent Taressa Sorce told Channel 11.
Before the meeting, Channel 11 obtained a letter the district sent to parents. The superintendent wrote, “Hate speech, of any kind, has no place at our schools. Neither is violence tolerated. I would also like to remind everyone that violence is not the answer to this kind of behavior.”
“How am I supposed to teach my students the complex introductions of our world when my students don't even understand the intricacies of race and culture?” said one teacher.
The suspended boy’s family was at the meeting. The father told Channel 11 there have been racial problems since he was a student here a long time ago. They are also working with the district about what happened to their son.
They later released this statement: “We would like to thank the community and especially the Mars Area School District students for showing us love and care during this difficult process. The outpouring of support from both the students and community is very much appreciated. Many students have been calling and reaching out to convey their support. We are hoping the school district will work toward making sure that all students have a positive learning environment going forward.”
The district told parents a new anti-bullying program is in the works, and also said there will be diversity training.
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