Wednesday, May 11, 2016


The school board student representatives have shown real smarts and guts in bringing issues of concern from their classmates at Columbia High School to the board in recent months.

Now Student Representative Nina Kambili, a CHS senior, has done it again with a strong post on Facebook urging the district to do more in response to the recent Instagram posting of a racially offense image.

Nina Kambili
Even though it appears those who created the image are apologetic and did not mean anything racist, Kambili and some others indicate it stirred up strong feelings and requires more than the district statements that have been issued.

See Kambili's post below:

Nina Kambili I know that as a member of the Board of Education I am expected to maintain a sense of decorum but I absolutely have to say something publicly about this:
These are not just "funny pranks." I understand the intention behind that word choice, but I'm disgusted that the theme of this letter is not "we need to address racism in this school district" but rather "teach your children how to hide their racism." As a student of color who has discussed this extensively with other students of color/marginalized groups, this is just an extension of what we've been dealing with in this district for a long time. It's a culture that our community chooses to tolerate. These posts were up for a while and seen by many people before being reported. Yet there has been no discussion of the silent affirmation of racism by many students (and in other instances, teachers and administrators). Even more troubling is the superintendent's response of defaulting back on to the strategic plan, deferring any responsibility for *actually* handling this to others. 
There is a major opportunity here to identify the problem and attempt to educate students, do a community wide event, or commit to teaching the history of marginalized groups. But once again we get meaningless words to placate justified anger and administration who refuse to take responsibility and initiative.

We asked the district to comment on the concerns. Superintendent John Ramos did not respond, but Board President Elizabeth Baker said via email, "I will be speaking to these issues on Thursday at the BOE meeting. Would prefer not to comment until then."

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