Not Wanting to Feel Dismissed
May 19, 2019
Those in the group felt that at every instance of bringing up the problem, they were quickly dismissed by staff and administration.
“Whenever a person of color ever discusses their own experiences or they talk about something about race then they are automatically perceived as angry,” Chang explains her frustration.
In her English class, Chavez was attempting to explain to a teacher in her own perspective, but she felt like she was being shot down. To her, this was a blow as “it took a lot for me to say that.” Only for the teacher to not be “listening to what I was saying.”
In a separate occasion, Claudio shared sensitive information in her class about her living conditions. However, “other people in the class made points that made it seem like they were dismissing” her story.
“It made me feel like no one took me seriously,” Claudio shared the hurt that this discussion had caused her. She explains that her classmates were oversimplifying what it means to be wealthy or grow up in a place of gang activity. Not everyone can share the same success. Different perspectives cannot be understood by all, but “downgrading” experiences are hurtful to individuals.
This dismissal is also felt from those higher than the administration on campus. During an ASB meeting, Beharry gave a speech about how he felt like a minority on campus to the assistant superintendent and interim superintendent. However, after his speech, the topic was only “talked for one second and then moved on.”
Renar recalls asking a question after Beharry that was discussed for 15 minutes. However, she felt that it “didn’t need to be drawn out” and the attention should’ve been on Beharry as he “was putting [himself] out there.”
It should be those with more power to progress the climate on campus.
After being dismissed for a long time, Beharry feels that it is necessary for more to be done. He believes that students have been pushing toward progress without the full support of staff and administration.
“It’s the students who are doing that stuff. Like it was Gianni and Denise who went and created this Ethnic Studies class; it was Jocelyn who saw the need to have translators in our info night; it was Hannah Yale and myself for starting all these awareness things this year; it was Rachel Chang and [Jimena] who started the whole Intersections in the Dragon Press; it was Vanessa Luna and Shealyn who are doing all the stuff with the MSO kids and trying to break the school to prison pipeline and like there is so much stuff that students are doing.”
Therefore, Beharry is putting the attention on the administration and staff to do something. He and the others in the meetings believe that it shouldn’t be students doing all the work.
However, he will hold a panel on May 20, in the media center where staff, administration and school board members will be present. All are welcome to attend and listen to the stories of students who want to see change on campus.
Editor’s Note: Rachel Chang and Claire Renar are staff members for the publication; neither was involved in the production of this article.