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As Feds Roll Back Civil Rights for Students, Educators Step in to Protect Them

By NEA EdJustice Features

As the Trump Administration and the DeVos Department of Education attempt to rollback federal civil rights and protections for students, educators are joining with parents and students to ensure all students are protected. To support this groundswell of action, NEA is rolling out Protecting Our Students Civil Rights, a guide to the best and strongest local organizing and policy work across the country.

Educators on the frontlines are making sure that students are protected by creating and passing policies at the district level that protect their rights.

Check out the highlights of our interview with Eric Harrington from NEA’s Office of General Counsel.

Why is it necessary to promote strengthening students civil rights protections right now?

Eric Harrington: We saw a spike in toxic and racist activity in schools before the 2016 election—a rise in anti-Semitism, homophobia, pejorative racial slurs, reports of students having the Hijab ripped off their heads. Following the election we have seen a further escalation of these type of activities.

In this administration we have a President who equates organizing for social justice with people who organize neo-Nazi, white supremacist and KKK activities. We are seeing students and parents who may hold racist and intolerant views take their cues from President Trump and feel like harassment is justified.

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