Danial SangJib/Richmond Times-Dispacth

By Stephanie Younger • 

Content warning: Violent racism

White students at Short Pump Middle School students posted a video on Snapchat shouting racial slurs at Black students they have pinned to the ground, with a caption that reads, “We gonna (expletive) the black outta these African children from Uganda.”

It was important to to go to a community meeting that happened on Wednesday addressing this, where was some dialogue about the school’s cell phone policy and counseling for the perpetrators. However, in this article, I wanted to direct attention to a significant issue in Central Virginia as someone who has attended HCPS and experienced racism there.

Black children in marginalized communities get criminalized with status crimes that only apply to minors, such as skipping school, while all the school has done (so far) is forfeit the football season, and white children in the Short Pump area have access to therapy and counseling for crimes that apply to adults.

According to The Richmond Times’ Dispatch, The Legal Justice Aid reports Black students in Virginia were suspended about four times as often as were Hispanic and white students. The organization suggests supporting Black students and low income students by providing alternatives to extreme disciplinary actions.

It takes a lot more than counseling to teach children that racism is wrong. The fact that it’s taken the school board this long to address this reflects centuries of oppression and violence against Black youth. It is up to HCPS to develop concrete strategies to step up against racism in their school system, so Black youth can feel safe at school.

Stephanie Younger is a 15-year-old writer based in Central Virginia.