PPS administrator looks to track incidents of hate against stude - KPTV - FOX 12

PPS administrator looks to track incidents of hate against students

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A new program is being launched within Portland Public Schools to track instances of hate against students, and it is a very personal mission for one district leader.

Assistant Superintendent Antonio Lopez is taking this challenge on himself, saying he's heard from a number of students and families who say they've been recently targeted.

"I am passionate because this is the right thing to do,” Lopez said. “There's nothing we have in society that's more precious than our kids."

Thursday night, Lopez met with families in the Somali community after he heard about a Somalian student from Madison High School who was recently riding the bus to school when a man ripped the hijab off her head and called her a terrorist.

That was just one example of the kind of thing Lopez is hearing more about in what he describes as a politically charged environment right now in Portland.

He added that students in the Latino community are also feeling targeted, and within the last week, a hate message targeting LGBTQ students was found in a bathroom at Grant High School.

Incidents like this that happen on campus are monitored by staff already, but Lopez hopes this will be a more holistic approach that includes encounters students may have off school grounds.

He says the goal is to include relevant curriculum where it's needed and help connect these students with resources that can help.

"It is our job in the schools to be there for these communities, for every student, but especially for populations that are vulnerable, that don't have a voice,” Lopez said. “They need to feel that we at Portland Public Schools cares about every family and every student."

The details of exactly how these cases will be tracked are still being worked out, although the district has heard from a software company that reached out wanting to help them with this project.

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