Students React to the Racially Segregated Testing

After the Voices of Color class opened a discussion on the STAR testing incident, posters were opened up to the rest of the school to gauge reactions.

Ella Roach

After the Voices of Color class opened a discussion on the STAR testing incident, posters were opened up to the rest of the school to gauge reactions.

Micheline Jasinksi

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On Wednesday, October 16,  MHS freshman and sophomore students took the STAR test to assess English and mathematics mastery during their advisory periods. However, some students – all students of color – were summoned to take the tests at a different time during All-School Resource. The incident prompted the temporary suspension of the staff member who called those students to the STAR test, and an investigation was launched.

To help unload after the news broke, Chundou Her, teacher of the English elective class Voices of Color, set time aside to discuss the incident.

“In Voices of Color class, we generally talk about race issues that are happening around the world, but with this incident happening right here in Middleton High School, I knew for sure that we had to have some processing time for that, especially considering in Voices of Color we actually have a number of students who are students of color but not only that, they are students of color who are also leaders,” said Her.

Her created posters with the titles, We should… , I am worried about… , I wonder… ,  and, I notice… to gauge student’s reactions. First opened up to his Voices of Color class, Her eventually taped the posters outside his classroom with an assortment of markers to hear from other students. The pages did not remain blank for long.

“The general consensus was people were very confused about how this happened, and how the situation came about, so a lot of us really do want answers of what was the intentionality behind this, what kind of led to this, what are the consequences going to look like for the people who were involved in this, and also, how are we going to protect our students from letting something like this happen again in the future?” Her said.

Here is what the posters said.

“We Should…”

  • “Inform the whole school about this instance and make sure nothing like this happens again.”
  • “Stop this from happening again.”
  • “Find out what was going through their head.”
  • “Have an overhead announcement like what Plank did last year so EVERYONE has to listen.”
  • “Inform the whole school about this.”
  • “Do more checks on the staff we let into the school and their ideas and biases.”
  • “Keep addressing the issue and spreading awareness to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
  • “Gain the knowledge in order to address admin and pressure them to change and not let this happen again.”
  • “Stop this from happening again.”
  • “Have an all-school discussion to address this issue and not just a video.”
  • “Not blame one person. This is a cultural problem with our school.”
  • “Bring the teacher to justice.”
  • “Get new administration.”
  • “Why are we assuming this staff member is a woman and using this term to degrade and sexualize her?”

 

“I am worried about…”

  •  “not much getting done and acts like this continuing.”
  •  “How the community and school administration will respond.”
  •  “This event cooling down and then happening again.”
  • “How fast this issue will disappear.”
  • “If this is happening more often than just this once.”
  •  “How this will affect the POC community at MHS.”
  • “How this situation will most likely be overlooked and swept under the rug.”
  •  “The standard this sets for the actions of others against POC in our community.”
  •  “The people who were affected only getting a 2-minute apology video as a way to resolve this issue.”
  • “Our admin making decisions like this. How can we trust them to protect students of color in the future?”
  • “Our future.”
  • “People not feeling safe.”
  • “The school pinning it on one person and not seeing the bigger issue at hand.”
  • “How are we supposed to feel safe in school known for rape and racism?”
  • “The stigma this puts on our school again.”
  • “Issues of racism have come up repeatedly, yet nothing changed.”
  • “This isn’t even surprising.”
  • “Other parents/students not knowing about this since only these families were told.”

 

“I wonder…”

  • “Why they think with would be helpful.”
  • “What the perceived justification for this was.”
  • “What were they thinking?”
  • “What was their reasoning and why?”
  • “How can we help the students?”
  • “Were any of my friends in this experience?”
  • “Did no other staff members notice it before it happened?”
  • “…if, as the language suggests, this decision was made in isolation.”
  • “How many times has this happened?”
  • “If the news will pick this up.”
  • “Who it was?”
  • “How the students in those separate rooms felt.”
  • “Why this keeps happening.”
  • “How no one said anything until parents sent emails. Did teachers notice?”
  • “How many times the list had to be approved of and who approved it?”

 

“I notice…”

  • “The staff member had been placed on leave while they investigate.”
  • “The staff member who made this decision was not a person of color.”
  • “That our admin doesn’t like this instance and is doing something about it, which is amazing.”
  • “The apology talked a lot about intolerance.”
  • “The school is hiding the full picture of what happened.”
  • “That the school’s administration hesitated in releasing information about the incident.”
  • “That while this issue was noticed by staff members, the school didn’t act on it until parents got angry.”
  • “Most people do not know the full story. Admin is blaming one person.”
  • “Blame is falling on one person, even though there are more people who should be held accountable.”

 

The full story has yet to come out as an investigation pends. Until then, the school community is left to understand the events that unfolded and heal after this troubling incident.