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On Wednesday March 1, 2017 several racial slurs were found written in three boys bathrooms at LOHS. The handwriting is similar within all three bathrooms. Found in these bathrooms was the word “nigger” as well as “kill the niggers.”
Administration was notified, and they are working on coming up with a “solution.”
Back in November, LOHS was in the news after Lake Views released an edition titled “This is Your School.” This edition highlighted LO’s racist incidences through a timeline, accompanied by an editorial titled “It’s Time To Stop Lying About Our Racism,” and a piece written by reporter Daniel Nsengimana titled “Mass Exodus of Blacks From LO.”
Following this edition, local news platforms, including The Oregonian and The Lake Oswego Review covered the story, further highlighting LO’s troubling and disturbing issue with racism in the community.
In response the administration began a series of “Laker Seminars,” the intent of discussing racism and its prevalence in our community. These Laker Seminars occur once a month, requiring students to have 40 minute long discussions, mediated by their second period teacher. The first Laker Seminar took place back in January, with a powerful video, “The N Word.” The video interviewed students of color as well as teachers. The video allowed for follow up discussion.
The second seminar focused on Black History Month. Students were asked to read a piece that explores the relevance and importance of having Black History Month all together. This seminar created questions about the legitimacy of Black History Month as well as, once again, highlighting the lack of prevalence it has to this particular community.
Overall, the feelings on these Laker Seminars has been mixed, with some students finding them reductive, unimportant and useless while other students have seen some value in designating time to discuss the race issues that arise within the school.
The question now – what have these seminars truly accomplished? Has it created a space for students to explore a once taboo topic? Has it created a space in which students can further with the “jokes” such as this recent incident?