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NAACP holds community meeting to talk inclusion in Vigo County Schools

A community discussion took place to talk about diversity and inclusion in Vigo County Schools and how they hope to hire a more diverse staff.

Posted: Jul 15, 2019 10:31 PM
Updated: Jul 15, 2019 10:31 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) -- A community discussion took place Monday night to talk about diversity and inclusion in Vigo County Schools and their aquatic center.

"I think the main issue is children deserve to be taught by people who look like them. And I was never taught by someone who looked like me," Yzabel Totio, a Vigo County resident and now education major at Butler University said.

Totio grew up and went to school in Vigo County. She said throughout her years she never had an African American teacher.

"It didn't maybe affect me as much as it might affect someone else because I have a really strong mom that was always in the picture," Totio said. "But I think it's super important because some children of African American and just children of color they sometimes don't connect well with teachers who don't look like them, don't have the same experiences as them, don't have the same background."

That's why the NAACP held a community discussion Monday night. They wanted to talk about diversity in the schools and the aquatic center They're trying to work together to make sure things are inclusive.

"What people don't know they fear, and what they fear they hate, and what they hate they try to destroy. So let's go all the way back to the beginning. Let's change that at the school level," Sylvester Edwards, NAACP president said. "Once the kids get together they'll find out there's no difference in who they are other than the outside part of their bodies, just the skin color."

The group Monday night said this is a start but it's just the start.

They said a lot more discussions like this need to happen before a change in the world takes place.

"Its the beginning," Edwards said. It's a beginning," Jackie Lower, Vigo County School Board president said. 

Having been an educator all my life I just have respect for all kids of any kinds. We have a lot of different diverse ethnic groups in the community and we need to make sure they are all treated equally and have respect for each other," Lower said.

The school said they are reaching out to historically black colleges to hopefully recruit more diverse educators. And they say they will hopefully be able to take road trips there to try and recruit on scene.

They're also looking to hire a new diversity chair after the one they had retired last year.

The next and last time you can learn more about the school and the referendum is July 22nd at the school administration building. 

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