Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Racial Slurs on the Sidewalk at Lakeside Unsettle Students

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Racial Slurs on the Sidewalk at Lakeside Unsettle Students

Article excerpt

Several days of tension followed the discovery last week of a

racial slur on a sidewalk at Lakeside Junior High School.

Someone used chalk to print the slur on the sidewalk on school

grounds, Lakeside Junior High Principal Linda Lancaster said.

Written were the letters KKK and the n-word, she said.

"There were some kids who saw it," Lancaster said of the slur,

which was quickly cleaned off on May 20. "I had a number of

youngsters who were quite upset about it."

About 10 students -- both black and white -- have been

questioned, officials said. Officials don't know why the

incident occurred, nor had the offender been identified.

"I don't know why this happened," Lancaster said. "They do this

to get attention. They do this to be cool."

By Friday, the student body of 1,200 calmed after several

tension-filled days.

"I'm concerned that some of the unrest is on both sides,"

Lancaster said of the racial divide between blacks and whites.

"I don't know if it's going to be over."

Something has been just under the surface -- it's unclear

exactly what -- for about six months, the principal said.

"I found that this had been brewing for some time," said

Lancaster, who became principal a month ago. "We were able to

diffuse any of the aggression before it happened."

Lancaster reported several "near fights" following the

incident.

Some of the problem come from the traditional `he said, she

said' problems, she said.

This is only the third major racial incident in Clay's 26

schools this academic year. Deputy Superintendent Ben Wortham

said that he was aware of the incident, which Lancaster brought

to his attention.

"This one thing this morning was the first in a long time,"

Wortham said. "No, I can't say that there's any major, major

concern and that things are out of control. The schools are

trying proactively to deal with it."

Gail Eilers, an assistant superintendent for human resources,

said that all 114 top school district managers -- principals,

directors, assistant superintendents -- will undergo mandatory

multicultural and sensitivity training this summer. …

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