FUSD board talks Bullard High blackface controversy, drawing dozens for public comment

Education

A controversial video is front and center at Wednesday’s Fresno Unified School Board meeting.

The video shows a student from Bullard High School wearing blackface and saying racial slurs.

Dozens of parents and students were in downtown where the meeting is held, though we were told many more would have showed up, but they were scared after a community member says they were harassed for speaking up.

Some with signs in hand stating “black lives matter,” parents took a stand making sure their children’s voices are heard.

“We need staff and students to know that acts of racism will be taken seriously,” one parent said.

Erika Paggett, a parent of a Bullard High student says many are deeply bothered by this incident, but she calls it a teachable moment and hopes with this meeting, the school takes the necessary steps.

“The tone needs to be set on campuses, these types of actions are not allowed on campus, this type of language is not allowed on campus, if this is used, these are the consequences,” she says.

Consequences are what many at the meeting are asking for.

Parents and community activists say there’s no clear policy of accountability when it comes to racism against African American students. They are asking for ethnic studies and healing centers for students.

“Counselors on site to counsel during acts of racism and tension are hugely important so kids don’t take it into their own hands,” says Stacy Williams, a community activist.

A letter was released by the student’s parents about the incident stating they were sorry for the action. Fresno Unified superintendent, Bob Nelson, said in a presser last week that all students deserve to feel welcomed on campus.

“It doesn’t mean a student should be bullied or victimized ever,” says an ACLU representative.

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