In my eight grade year at Lake Harriet Community School, I was in language arts class with all my classmates and said something to a friend. My teacher at the time, Deborah Hansen, believed that because I was talking, it was appropriate to tell me that I was “proving to her that I’m not as smart as white kids” in front of the entire class. I felt and still feel she was actively trying to hurt and humiliate me.
Since I’ve posted a TikTok regarding the racist statement, many former students as well as current students have shared stories with me of the racism they’ve watched or experienced inside Lake Harriet Upper Campus.
The same year that Deborah Hansen told me that “I was proving to her that I’m not as smart as the white kids,” we were reading To Kill a Mockingbird and she actively encouraged non-black students to say the ‘n-word’ aloud. I have heard from current students that she is still encouraging non-black children to use the n-word in class and has even laughed when they did.
Current students have also informed me that she is telling them I was a “trouble child,” lying about the situation, and even making jokes about what happened.
Time To Face Some Consequences
I would like to see Deborah Hansen’s license revoked, as she is still subjecting children to racism and it appears nothing has changed in the six years I have been out of middle school. I would also like the claims that I’ve been sent from current and former students of Lake Harriet Community School to be investigated thoroughly, because it’s clear that this school has caused a lot of pain to students of color.
- I’d like to see the teacher fired and her license revoked for her continued disrespect and bullying of students of color.
- I would like to see the principal fired for not taking racism within this school seriously or creating space for students to share their experiences. Current students have told me they want to remain anonymous so they “won’t get in trouble with teachers for telling the truth.”
- I would like all allegations from past and current students to be taken seriously and investigated in a way that doesn’t make students feel unsafe or like they’ll get in trouble
- Finally, I’d like for all teachers in MPS to be thoroughly trained on racism and white privilege as well as be rightfully penalized for any racist statements and experiences that they have put students through.
This type of racist attitude or white fragility is what creates a survival of the fittest type mentality with the public school system and leave children of color feeling oppressed with no value.
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