Santa Rosa, CA – April 4, 2017 – The Sonoma County Junior Commission on Human Rights wants to give their fellow students a chance to speak honestly about experiencing or witnessing racial discrimination in county high schools. The Racial Equality and Justice Committee, made up of Sonoma County high school students, has created an anonymous survey for their peers to complete online in English and Spanish, and has requested help from all high school principals in distributing it to students.
Commission members began drafting the survey after discovering startling data following the presidential election; the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) saw nearly 900 reports of racial harassment and intimidation. Unfortunately, as the data suggests, schools are considered some of the most common venues for these types of incidents. When the SPLC surveyed 10,000 teachers across the country in the first days following the election, 90% of those surveyed noticed an increase in racial discrimination and harassment and a detrimental impact to their school climate. Committee member Tara Sullivan says, “We hope this survey will give Sonoma County students an opportunity to voice their experiences and feel safe doing so, because the survey is online and anonymous. For too long, students and administrators have kept silent about racial discrimination or haven’t properly addressed the problems in their schools. Now, more than ever, is the time to start talking about it and take action.” The Committee plans to gather data from as many students as possible through April 20th. They plan to report their data findings in May to school boards, district superintendents and the Board of Supervisors, along with recommendations to improve school climate. The survey is available to all high school students here:
The Junior Commission on Human Rights is a project of the Commission on Human Rights, an appointed advisory board to the County Board of Supervisors. The Junior Commission is intended to provide high school aged youth with the opportunity to participate in advocacy, take an active role in County government, provide education about human rights issues that impact their lives and empower youth to make a positive impact on their communities.
For more information about the Junior Commission, visit the CHR website or follow us on Facebook