I am increasingly impressed by the amazing activists surrounding me supporting the BLM movement. As we have learned by the story of Kionte Spencer and others, Roanoke, Virginia is not immune to police brutality. We are complicit in many ways, and I know that I have not done my best to support the BLM movement until the death of George Floyd. I would occasionally share a BLM post on my story, but, throughout my adolescence, I should have done more.
Kids are impressionable and eager to learn. No child is born racist, but, one’s upbringing may shape them negatively in that regard. I think that North Cross teachers should utilize their platform as a means of discussing issues that may not be discussed in the home. We have many opportunities for discussion, such as activity periods, assemblies, and advisory lunches. In the lower division, ‘Raider Roundups’ and assemblies can be utilized as a means of discussing racial injustice.
North Cross is predominantly a school for the white and privileged. If we acknowledge that, we can start making changes. For example, this year, we really did not recognize Black History Month. In the past, we have had discussions on stage, or Mr. Hash has enlightened the student body. Dr. Proctor has not publicly acknowledged (as far as I know) that North Cross is a white flight school. Like the justice system and our city, we are complicit; but, as we all know, it is possible to progress.
As I am sure others have felt, this has been a time of education. Ever since the tragic death of George Floyd, I have made it my goal to educate myself about the injustices in society. Because North Cross is an educational institution, the school has the unique opportunity and power to transform students into civically engaged citizens. This is an important duty for our school. As of now, I am not sure that we are accomplishing this, but then again, did we know that we were supposed to be accomplishing something in this regard?
Here is my list of solutions for our institution:
-Instead of summer reading books such as The Princess Bride, make the division-wide book one that tackles a societal issue (ex. The New Jim Crow or Fly Away Home)
-Utilize assemblies and free periods for educational purposes, less for free study halls or recreational events. Show a documentary or movie!
-Diversify. Diversify. Our school administration is primarily white and male. We do not have a teacher of color in the Upper School anymore. This must change!
Chloe Hunt '21
Gracean Ratliff '23