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Student speaks out about alleged racial harassment

We’re learning more about the alleged racial harassment in a Utah school district which AsAmNews first reported on October 21.

According to the federal investigation, the district ignored “serious and widespread” racial harassment for years, failing to respond to complaints from Black and Asian American students who were called racial slurs and physically assaulted by their peers, a federal civil rights investigation found.

The Davis School District is the state’s second largest with more than 72,000 students. Only about 1 percent are Black or Asian American.

Randy Low, 27, attended schools in the district in the early 2000s. In an interview with The New York Times, Low said that students and teachers had repeatedly harassed him for being half Japanese.

“Another student used a racial slur and was not disciplined in any way, and a classroom full of other students witnessed it,” Low said. “I realized, why would I bring this up to administration, to my teachers, if the only thing they’re going to do is tell me, ‘You’re OK’?”

The Justice Department detailed disturbing patterns at the Davis School District. The investigation, which focused on reports from 2015 to 2020, found more than 200 examples of racial harassment in the predominantly white region just north of Salt Lake City.

Black students were called the n-word, told “you are my slave” by other students, and told their skin was dirty or “looked like feces” numerous times. Meanwhile, Asian American students were called slurs and told to “go back to China,” the report states.

The Justice Department subsequently concluded that the district “was deliberately indifferent to the racially hostile climate in many of its schools.”

Some former students said that racism had persisted in the district for decades.

In a statement, the Davis School District said that it took the findings very seriously. “They do not reflect the values of this community and the expectations of the district,” it said. “The district pledges to correct these practices.”

Former students said they were skeptical that real change would happen soon. Low commented, “If you have poison in the district, and you do nothing about it, it’s going to remain,” Low said.

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