Legislation would address racial harassment in schools

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(Host) Although Vermont and the nation celebrates Martin Luther King Day on Monday, Thursday was the civil rights leader’s birthday. Advocates gathered in the Statehouse Thursday and used the day to push for legislation that would strengthen laws against racial harassment in schools.

Larry McCrorey is a retired University of Vermont professor who says the legislation is needed to protect minority children in schools.

(McCrorey) “I think that wishing it will go away will not make it happen. I think that denial that there is racism certainly won’t bring us to a good ending. The only way to really do is to hold these schools accountable. And that’s what this bill would do.”

(Host) The Vermont Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said in a recent report that harassment continues to occur in Vermont schools.

The legislation – now pending in the House – requires that a school must promptly investigate allegations of harassment. If harassment has occurred, the bill requires school officials to take prompt action to correct the situation.

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