MARSHALL COUNTY, W. Va. (WTRF) – Marshall County Schools officials have become aware that racial tensions in the community are spilling over into the schools.
Racial slurs have reportedly appeared on social media and have been yelled at football games. So the school system has called upon people from all walks of life to form a community task force on racism and discrimination.
It involves everyone from the county prosecutor to the chamber of commerce, from city council to the NAACP, and from school board members and teachers to kids and parents.
There are 12 members so far, and they just held their first meeting.
“I’ve been coaching in Moundsville for 45 years,” said Eugene Saunders, Moundsville Council member. “I’ve been a councilman for 18 years. I thought with this day and age that things would have changed. But obviously I was wrong.”
Saunders said kids didn’t invent this racial slur.
“Kids are not born saying that,” he said. “They don’t know what the N-word means at first. It’s taught at home.”
And it gets inflamed online.
“Social media, TikTok, snapchat are not helping the issue,” noted Marshall County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shelby Haines. “And so we realized that this is a community issue that flows over into school.”
So they formed the Task Force on Racial Discrimination.
“And thank goodness the superintendent has stepped out and said we’re not going to tolerate it,” Saunders said. “It’s not going to happen in the schools.”
They have come up with some strategies.
“We spoke about a number of initiatives,” said Dr. Haines. “That includes a system for confidential reporting so people feel safe telling what happened. And we have something called Go Guardian on all the iPads. We can go back through and see if the kids have been looking up racially inappropriate things.”
It’s the start of a community wide effort they hope will allow humanity to triumph over hate.
“And if they don’t stop looking at the color of their skin and start looking at their hearts, we’ll never get it right,” Saunders concluded.
They plan to involve coaches of all sports at all age levels, to drive home the message that discrimination won’t be tolerated.