SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The NAACP hosted a storytelling event on August 1 allowing students from Springfield Public Schools to share their stories of discrimination in school.
More than 100 people showed up for the event including representatives of the Springfield Public Schools.
Anna Weiner, a graduate of Kickapoo High School, said her life was threatened. “My junior year of high school, there was a boy in my speech and debate team who threatened to kill me because I was Jewish.”
A Muslim student said he experienced discrimination from his fellow members on the basketball team who would make bomb sounds whenever he would shoot the basketball, insinuating that Muslims are terrorists.
A current student at Central, Spencer Stringer, is another student who spoke at the event about the discrimination from being a transgender male. “I ended up dropping out of school two separate times because I was having a really rough time with getting people to understand me and also the policies set in place by the school were really bad for my safety and mental health.”
Stephen Hall with SPS says a lot of people from the school district are here to listen to the students’ stories and they already have a few plans in place for the future to deal with discrimination.
The plans include hiring a chief equity and diversity officer, expanded training for all the staff, leaders, teachers, and employees within the district, and having an equity and diversity council that will be meeting twice a month for the first semester of the school year.
The students said all they wanted is to be treated equally.
“People have an immense capacity to change,” Weiner said. “And that if you explain to them, this hurt me, and this is why. That, the vast majority of the time, they will try to change.”