Race & Ethnicity

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Students at Ohio high school take matters into their own hands.

In elementary school we had a day where everyone would bring a cultural dish, come dressed in their culture’s traditional garb and present to the class about where you came from. The day was always a mix of kids talking about their German, Italian or Polish traditions while the Black kids were left a bit uncomfortable because the link to our heritage had been broken. Sure we brought food that some of us looked up in the encyclopedia. You know, back before the days of the internet. I remember being slightly mortified when my mom suggested bringing cornbread or collard greens because I knew none of the other kids would be bringing southern staples that day.

While the school attempted to check off the box for diversity, it was not a well-thought-out plan and caused a bit of embarrassment and harm. So when a school works to get it right and use their diversity day to discuss social issues and include interactive activities, you want to see it succeed. Turpin High School in Anderson Township, Ohio, had a tradition of holding diversity day where they did just that. Students and staff talked about hard topics and participated in activities where students were required to opt in with a permission slip from their parents. But this year, the school board postponed the much-anticipated day less than 24 hours before the event was to take place and then canceled it altogether.

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