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 SDCOE Organizes Student Panel to Discuss Racism

Ten students from the Black Student Experience Panel

Ten students from across San Diego County came together to share their experiences with racism while about 175 educators listened in virtually.

The Black Student Experience Panel was designed by the Equity and System of Supports teams at the San Diego County Office of Education as an example of how educators can also hold space for this conversation with students and adults. The recorded panel is now available for on-demand viewing

“The panel was incredible and all educators should give it a listen,” said Laura Snow, an education specialist at Poway Unified School District who participated in the live panel. “When I took a moment to reflect about how school is their whole life, while also thinking about experience after experience of our Black students who are disregarded, disrespected, unseen – it was extremely eye-opening.”

She added that the experience served as a call-to-action for her to learn more so she can do more to support Black students, see them, validate their experiences, and create learning opportunities that are culturally responsive.

“Hearing a student speak about changing elementary schools because he was disciplined more extremely than any other student involved, affirms this is real, and must stop,” Snow said.

The panel was streamed live on July 15, but the recording is available for viewing on the Equity playlist on SDCOE’s YouTube channel. The student panel also kicked off a three-part learning series for educators to process what they heard from students and explore how they can design spaces for dialogue with their students and staff members.

This was the first student panel hosted by SDCOE, but not the only virtual panel organized for educators surrounding COVID-19, racism, and equity.

This week, state Assembly Member Dr. Shirley Weber joined a panel of educational leaders to discuss the high rate of COVID-19 infections in the Black community, the civil rights movement, and how educators can support their community members in need.

Last month, nearly 300 people logged in for a Latinx Leadership Panel featuring elected officials and a school district superintendent who discussed the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the Latinx community. 

To learn more about SDCOE’s educational equity learning opportunities and view past webinars visit the Equity department webpage.