CHICAGO (AP) — Racial incidents are appearing to pop up at an alarming rate in the nation’s public schools, from a carful of white Utah girls chanting a racial epithet used against black people to Maryland students using their shirts to spell the same slur at a rally.
By one expert’s count, there were roughly 80 incidents in October alone.
Many educators note a spike anecdotally, and social media can give such incidents wider and faster exposure. But it’s far trickier to assess whether there’s an increase numerically, with no organization or agency consistently tracking the issue over time.
School officials acknowledge the incidents are more visible and brazen, fueled by a polarizing presidential administration, divided public and “meme culture.” As a result, schools have responded more publicly and intensely than before.