Cumberland Valley superintendent responds to district racism allegations

Carlisle/West Shore

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Cumberland Valley’s superintendent is responding to allegations of racism in the district.

During the past two board meetings, parents brought concerns that minority students are being harassed and racial slurs are used in school hallways.

“Including, you know, slurs and those kinds of things, stuff that isn’t really appropriate in educational settings, or any settings,” superintendent Dr. David Christopher said.

It isn’t exactly new territory for CV. Concerns about racism have been brought to the attention of administrators before, and they’ve been working for the past two years to make the district more inclusive.

We spoke off-camera to a CV senior who is a minority. He said he’s heard underclassmen yell slurs and act inappropriately, but it isn’t isolated to CV. He believes, nationwide, kids are desensitized because slurs are often used in rap songs and social media.

Regardless, the district means business.

“We take any of those concerns very seriously as a school district, to the point that the board has actually created a committee, an inclusion advisory committee, where we’ve already had one meeting as well,” Christopher said.

Parents, teachers and school board members sit on the committee. Their goal is to create a better educated, inclusive environment, but that’s just the beginning.

“We will be looking for a school climate tool so we can get some better understanding of what perceptions are for things in the high school and middle schools as well,” Christopher said.

The district is also working with the NAACP, Department of Justice, and the Anti-Defamation League on the issues.

Although the district is known for being wealthy and predominantly white — state statistics show that 75.6 percent of the district is white– Christopher doesn’t believe they’re facing the issue alone.

“The district, in general, is more well-resourced than a lot of places. I mean, it is, but these are challenges I think every community has seen. I don’t think these are challenges that are specific to Cumberland Valley,” Christopher said.

For more on the inclusion advisory committee, click here.

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