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Schools must educate students on the use of slurs

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From the racist and homophobic slanders spelled out by California students in their senior pictures to the Wisconsin high school students who saluted Hitler in a group photo, there is no denying that racism, homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, and religious intolerance are still at large in this generation. Although there has been considerable backlash against ‘political correctness’ in recent years from certain factions of political parties, kindness is not a political issue. As evidenced by the bigotry disseminated from the top down in our society, there is a desperate need for a solution to the ignorance. This should be a topic that’s integrated into education.
Tolerance.org provides a guide for responding to hate directed at different groups of students and instruction to handle the aftermath of a situation. Most schools already have a policy in place to combat the bullying that stems from this, but not many schools integrate a proper education of the words students hear in the halls and their true effect. Growing up, there isn’t a distinct lesson that teaches kids that some words are not okay to use, even under the pretense of a joke. Jokes give people a sense of protection. After someone says something offensive, they can often avoid further scrutiny by dismissing it as just a joke. The problem is that jokes end up harboring and perpetuating many antiquated and offensive ideas. Even in the context of a joke, it is not okay to be called something that makes you uncomfortable. Everyone has been the victim of some kind of slur at some point in their lifetime and so should seek to educate themselves on what people are uncomfortable with being called. The sad truth is that not many people do that, and this is why an education on what is a slur and why people are uncomfortable with them should be integrated into education plans.
High school may seem a little late to teach what is a slur, but the recent incidents in California and Wisconsin schools show that something needs to be done to combat these incidents. Grayslake North may seem tolerant and accepting as a community, but all it takes is a few students to marginalize an entire group of people. The school in Wisconsin that saluted Hitler in a group picture is just two hours away from Grayslake North. This is a problem that hits close to home. Even so, these horrible incidents are shocking, and it may seem like a stretch that something similar may happen here, but the truth is that these events stem from the little exchanges that can be heard in the halls. Even the use of less taboo slurs can lead to a toxic environment for some students. Many people are born into this struggle against the negative perceptions attached to these slurs, and those slurs have no place in the home or hallways, let alone a classroom.
In conclusion, without education, students risk staying ignorant until one of these horrible situations like that of California or Wisconsin happens here. It’s okay not to know something, but it’s not okay to remain ignorant because it’s easy. If students don’t know what they’re doing is wrong, they won’t correct their behavior, and sometimes all they need is someone to tell them that words like that are not okay. Students must be cognizant of slurs and the perpetuation of bigotry that they lead to, and this knowledge comes from solely education.

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Schools must educate students on the use of slurs