Discrimination on Campus

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Discrimination on Campus

Violet Wang and Taya Llapitan

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Discrimination has been a pervasive issue throughout history. Although society has become more accepting of diversity, it is still a prevalent occurrence in many settings. The Casa Grande campus, which is usually regarded as a safe place for learning, still harbors some discrimination for marginalized groups. Students are subjected to sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and other forms of prejudices in the forms of harassment, bullying, and intimidation. In every part of the nation, discrimination takes a role throughout school and is a main factor of high rates of dropouts, absenteeism, adverse health, underachievement, and consequences.

For generations, students who belong to racial or gender minorities have been continuously deprived of equal educational opportunities.”

Valerie Alston, the College and Career Outreach Specialist, gave her view and experiences with discrimination on campus.

“For me, being an African American female, discrimination really hits home in many different ways. What I have observed at Casa would be language. I occasionally hear the [N word] as I’m walking past a group of students. I’ve let students who hang out with me, of all different ethnicities and races, know that profanity is not allowed here. What I try to do is to educate our youth population and our adults at any given opportunity that I’m able to. So for me, if I view or observe discrimination, I try to flip that and make sure that I’m able to turn it into an educational opportunity,” said Alston.

       Although federal statutory protections protect students against discrimination on race, color, national origin, sex, and disability, federal civil rights laws do not protect students on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. However, there are few federal laws that prohibit discrimination in educational services. To prevent discrimination and spread awareness, the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education Responsibility provides many different workshops and educational seminars. This program is a way to support students, parents, and faculty to recognize and receive fair treatment. This brings support to people who may have experienced certain discriminatory situations or those who just want more knowledge on this topic. Students and adults might not realize the impact that even the smallest comments or conversations can have on someone, and awareness can help draw light to the issue.

Spanish teacher Maria Walker gave her views of discrimination on campus.

“I think all people should be treated fairly regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. During my teaching career, I have had to talk to students about slurs and hate speech used in the class and most of the time they have been apologetic. I would encourage any student who has been made to feel uncomfortable or offended in any way to speak with their teacher,” said Walker.

Hopefully, with more awareness, discrimination on campus can be diminished to provide a safe place for education for all.

Sophomore Helena Mifsud speaks about her experience with discrimination as someone with a disability.

“I wouldn’t say necessarily [I’ve faced discrimination] at Casa Grande; I’d say we’re a very good school. I do outside but not as much as when I was little. Now, it’s just somewhat like almost mystery you can see in people’s eyes. They’re like, “Oh, wow, she’s shorter. Oh, wow, her head is bigger.” But other than that, not really. Just a few little kids [that are] curious. Not really adults. While I was little, little kids [would be curious], but it was hard to tell because I was still supposed to be short since I was like, five,” said Mifsud. 

Senior Jordan Gramajo describes his experience with racism.

I think everyone will say some racist stuff but not intentionally, like they’ll say a joke or they’ll generalize [a race]. Like people say ‘all Mexicans don’t have papers,’ which is not true. Teachers, they’ll generalize me, like the way I dress and the way I dress. It’s not as bad, but I think there is some racism in schools,” said Gramajo. 

Sophomore Allison Kalemba talks about her experiences with sexism.

“In elementary school I had a female teacher tell me to act like a lady when I was playing amongst boys, and in P.E. I was not expected to do well. The teacher favorited the boys and ignored the girls. At first, I didn’t understand what was happening or why I was treated differently, but when I did I felt annoyed and confused. It wasn’t my fault I was a girl, and yet I was penalized for it. I think sexist behavior is taught from the moment we are born. Parents do it without realizing it; girls get dolls and boys play with balls. Society teaches sexist behavior to everyone. I haven’t experienced much sexism at school recently that I can recall,” said Kalemba.

Freshman Grayson Creasy speaks about her experience with transphobia.

“In Kenilworth, I had a lot of experiences of people shoving me into the lockers in the locker room, or just things like walking down the hallway and hearing people call me slurs like ‘tranny.’ At Casa, it’s been much better, and the situation has improved, but there’s still a lot of ignorance. I went through a situation where I had my name changed in Aeries, and people would purposely call me my assigned name at birth just to piss me off or just to upset me. There’s a lot of stigma around the LGBT community, especially the trans community, and people are often against it because of their own ignorance or their own hatred against something they don’t understand. I had a “Trans Pride” sticker on the back of my phone case, and this teacher insisted that I take it off, and I argued against it, I said, you know, “It’s mine, why does it matter,” and she went on a whole tangent about her religious beliefs and how it was against school rules. It was just this really big deal to her that I had something on my personal property that was expressing my rights,” said Creasy. 

Junior Mallak Ali discussed her experience with religious discrimination.

Personally, I’ve been taught by my brothers and parents to disregard [jokes], I’ve been taught to say something about it and don’t just let it roll off. [The jokes are] kind of just the stereotypical things like ‘you’re a terrorist,’ or ‘you’re going to set off a bomb.’ When we had the shooter threat, a few people jokingly looked at me. [When I say that I am Muslim], people are surprised because I’m really white––like I look like a really white person. I’m Palestinian. It’s just that people are surprised, and I understand because of my skin color but it hurts a little bit because why is that so bad. On the school campus in terms of religion, I haven’t had any terrible encounters with religion but I think it’s more with race and acceptance because there have been more swastikas on tables now.  In terms of religion, I think [there is] nothing that I have seen personally but skin color is a different thing. To be honest, I’ve learned to not stoop to people’s levels, just stay at your own level and take it in,” said Ali.

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