Parents, students weary of return to schools among pandemic and racial concerns

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Posted at 5:18 PM, Jun 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 17:18:35-04

WILMINGTON, N.C. - Amid a pandemic, will parents have to fear sending their kid(s) to school for another reason?

In light of the many deaths of Black people at the hands of police brutality, parents are getting more fearful of sending their kids out into the world.

“I am more fearful of COVID-19 because that is an unseen enemy that is still around,” Lisa Hamilton, a mother of three, said regarding sending her youngest daughter to school amid a pandemic and the ongoing racial tension in the country. “I just think she needs to be more aware of her surroundings. We cannot let our kids get too comfortable, whether that be around police or other people."

Hamilton was asked about whether she and her friends share the same worrisome thoughts of sending their kid(s) to school alone amid the racial tension, which she said they do.

“Yes, with the recent death of George Floyd, we do,” Hamilton said. “It is just [for the kids] about being as safe as possible since there’s already a strike against you just being Black.”

Nic Blanding, a rising senior at N.C. A&T, said that being a student at an HBCU provides a level of comfort, so he does not have to worry about racial tension as much as his friends do at their predominantly white institutions (PWI).

"The racial tension has made me more appreciative of going to an HBCU because most of the people going there are going through much of the same things I am going through," Blanding said. “My friends and I just talk about voicing our opinions and advocating change. This is not new [racial tension]; I have been Black my entire life. Racial tension in the country is not new; it is just now being unveiled on a larger scale."

Emely Genao, an American citizen of Dominican and Honduran descent, said that she is more afraid of going back to her school, the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) due to the fact the school and the city are predominantly white.

“I am more afraid of the racial tension because UNCW is surrounded by a white community and it is an election year, and they can get very politically involved," Genao said. “I am worried about COVID-19, do not get me wrong, because no matter the extreme measures I take, I can still possibly get it."

Genao finished by saying that she feels not enough administration is speaking out on the behalf of the minorities.

“We only have each other [the minorities] in Wilmington, the only people who care about what is going on seems to be the minority students and faculty, Genao said. “Even our chancellor, Chancellor Sartarelli, told us 'All Lives Matter' when we said 'Black Lives Matter.'”

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