SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond plans to make sure all educators are trained on how to engage in discussions about race and bias with students this upcoming school year, but some parents aren’t waiting for their kids to be in a classroom to teach those life lessons.
Tina Aina has had her 6-year-old daughter, Alofa Clark, next to her side at every protest she’s attended in San Jose this week. She said the messages that can be learned through the protests shouldn’t have to wait.
“With her skin color, being half black, that her skin matters,” said Aina.
Alofa may have been one of the smallest demonstrators among the dozens who stood at the intersection of 4th Street and San Fernando Thursday afternoon, but her voice was just as strong as the adults who surrounded her.
She chanted and held a sign in between running and playing on the stairs of the downtown library.
On Monday, Thurmond announced plans to train both educators and administrators on implicit bias and racism, and said that teachers needed to be ready to have discussions on the issues this school year. He said that the discussions will include law enforcement and government agencies as well.
“This is an important time to talk about bias, to talk about race,” Thurmond said. “We know that our children, they learn racism, and so that means we cannot just focus exclusively on the education sector, but we have to broaden to every sector because bias exists in every sector.
Thurmond started his news conference saying that some students have experienced trauma over the death of George Floyd, and called on counseling agencies and groups to step up and help students now.
Andrea Kusanovich brought her two young daughters to Thursday’s San Jose protest. But she isn’t just a mother, she said she’s also a local teacher.
“It’s so important, it’s so important,” she said. “As a teacher we are a part of these systems that have historically left some students behind, and we really need to support and uplift our black students and our students of color, the work is so important.
“Silence is complicity, and it’s so important that educators are having these conversations with their students, and that parents are having conversations with their kids.”