Social Justice in the Kern high school

Jocelyn Perez, Reporter

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The Dolores Huerta Foundation, which is part of the Kern Education Justice Collaborative (KEJC) marched to demand social justice in schools on Jan. 30.

Cecilia Castro, Education Policy Director, led the march and encouraged protestors to chant, “What do we want?! Justice! When do we want it? Now!”

The march began near on Ming Ave. and ended at West High School where the press conference was held shortly after.

Prior to the conference, a few protestors gave speeches about how the Kern High School District (KHSD), has neglected their own personal situations. They said they en- countered social inequity in schools.

“The district has failed to adequately meet the demands of the community and has fallen short on the terms of the settlement,” Castro said. Protestors also stated their demands and expectations for improvement in schools.

Kialee Arias, a student at Foothill High school, witnessed what she explains an unfortunate event that occurred at the school that could’ve been avoided had there been more re- sources to turn to. She also stated that there’s not enough awareness brought to the importance of diversity at school.

“A lot of Hispanics don’t know that Kern High School
District is supposed to be promoting heritage month and a lot of African Americans don’t know they’re supposed to provide resources for black history month,” Arias said.

The main issue that was announced to be addressed was the concern from the community over is disproportionate push-out of black and brown students to continuation schools rather than their white peers. According to KEJC, there are disproportionate rates for black people in voluntary, and involuntary transfer and are facing suspensions 2-3 more times than their white peers.

Jocelyn Perez
Cecilia Castro, education and policy director for the Dolores Huerta foundation, speaking to the attendees of the rally.

Each member of the KHSD had a chance to speak to the audience on be- half of the statements made against the institution. Community members in the audience were not allowed to make direct questions or statements to the speakers during the conference, however, they were instructed to write down any comments they had on cards that were handed out and were addressed towards the end of the event.

In response to heavy criticism, KHSD addressed that there has been social inequity.

“We realize that there’s a fierce urgency to make larger strides in reducing suspensions and expulsions and we are working towards that, so say that we have work to do, yes, but please don’t say we endorse discrimination or racism on any level against any student because it is not true and that kind of narrative is divisive,” Speaker Brenda Lewis, KHSD Associate Superintendent of Destruction, said.

Each member of the KHSD had a chance to speak to the audience on be- half of the statements made against the institution. Community members in the audience were not allowed to make direct questions or statements to the speakers during the conference, however, they were instructed to write down any comments they had on cards that were handed out and were addressed towards the end of the event.