State’s commission on discrimination and hate crimes has heard from the people on the front lines – high school students

Serena Thakkar, a student at St Charles East High School, says procedures at her school are lacking. (Photo courtesy: WJBC/File)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – A two-hour online town hall is an example of what Gov. JB Pritzker wants to see from a rejuvenated Illinois Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes – even if some of the students had tough talk for what they believe are schools not doing enough.

“Racial bullying is a type of racism where someone’s bullying focuses on the victim’s race, ethnicity, or culture,” said Lori Martinez of Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. “We need to create a system where someone calling someone a slur outweighs calling someone a cuss word.”

“A lot of the times, we see that bullying occurs in classes, in the hallway at school, in the cafeteria, (but students and staff nearby) are simply not educated or well-equipped to address the issue at hand,” said Hoffman Estates’ Dhruv Patel, who suggests more state-mandated training.

Another student took aim at her own school. Serena Thakkar said St. Charles Eash High School seems to be more concerned about its image than in how its students feel.

Dave Dahl can be reached at [email protected].


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