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City Club of Eugene: The Challenges of Harassment Experienced by Minority Students

Recorded on: January 20, 2017

Air Date: January 23, 2017

Oregon has an inordinately high number of incidents of harassment of schoolchildren arising from racial, ethnic, religious, or gender-identity intolerance, according to national statistics. Statistically Lane County leads the state in such offenses. In addition, the nature and number of incidents in Eugene/Springfield area schools has increased since the November 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

In this program two local school Superintendents and a parent of biracial children, who is also a teacher, will address what strategies and responses educators are taking to ensure a safe, respectful and nurturing environment for all young people in local schools.


  • School District 4-J Superintendent Gustavo Balderas and Springfield School Superintendent Susan Rieke-Smith will speak about the data collection and responsive programs being mounted collaboratively by all three local districts.
  • Dena James, a teacher and parent whose biracial children attend local schools will speak about her experience and what needs to be done.

Coordinator for this program is Juan Carlos Valle.

Some students in local schools have had experiences similar in many ways to those described in the book “Between the World and Me,” by author Ta-Nehisi Coates. Author Coates is scheduled to speak at the UO on February 3rd.

This City Club program will include perspectives on how students go about their lives in an environment that is sometimes hostile. Harassment and bullying may create an environment of intimidation in school and elsewhere. Parents and educators are exploring what can be done to make all students feel safe and accepted.

Panelists will give examples of how incidents of harassment that arise from the intolerance of racial, ethnic, religious, or gender-identity differences are experienced by students and how these threats to safety affect success in school. Panelists will describe some of the policies and practices that schools use to identify problem behavior, eradicate it and ultimately heal its effects.

Born and raised in Eugene, Anni started at KLCC in 2000 as a reporter and co-host of Northwest Passage. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Anni moved to New York City. She worked in education for several years before returning to her true love, journalism. Anni co-founded and co-hosted Dailysonic, a narrative-based news podcast. She interned at WNYC's On The Media, then becoming WNYC's assistant producer of Morning Edition.