All Issues in NK Schools Need to be Heard
I have worked hard in multiple capacities to bring attention to issues around diversity, equity and inclusion in North Kingstown.
I consider it a privilege to have had so many former and current students confide in me about their experiences with racism in the North Kingstown schools. I have tried my best to uplift and amplify those voices so that we can help move our district and our community forward. We cannot fix what we do not acknowledge.
I am repeatedly told that there are no documented instances of racism in North Kingstown and then incidents of hate crimes in our community (racist flyers left in port-a- potties and swastikas painted on the bike path) are ignored or minimized by the town.
But the possibility that a child has been hissed at by another child dressed as a cat? That’s what requires a full-scale investigation? These anonymous allegations are believed sight unseen, while the people who have come forward and shared the harassment and discrimination they have experienced due to their race are dismissed and/or minimized.
All children deserve to attend a school where they feel seen, valued, and heard. We can’t pick and choose what issues to address based on what fits best within a narrative. If a child being hissed at spurs you into action, but a child being called the N-word doesn’t, that says more than this letter ever could.
Jennifer Lima, North Kingstown
The writer is a North Kingstown School Committee member.
This letter was printed in the Providence Journal on September 17, 2022. You may also read it here.