In a recent event, an American Indian Marysville Public School student, Jaylen Fryberg has fatally injured himself and another student as well as injuring three other students. According to Marysville freshman Jordan Luton, Fryberg was a victim of racial bullying. The freshman reported to Fox News that previous to the incident racist remarks by students were directed at Fryberg and American Indians. Evidently the racial bullying incidents was not handled and resulted in the Jaylen Fryberg shooting.

White parents and White students must be horrified. With the mass shootings such as Sandy Hook, Red Lake, and Thurston High, White parents must feel that whatever measures are taken, their children are in jeopardy. The measures that have been endorsed by Whites include added security, legislation that allows teachers to carry guns, policies that deter bullying and list goes on. They must feel with all of those investments their children are not safe.

White students must feel the same pressure. Even with a student of the caliber of the Jaylen Fryberg, who was a football player and nominated as the freshman homecoming prince, the end result is the Jaylen Fryberg shooting which presently has resulted in the death of two teens, including himself, and three students who are in critical condition.

Could bitterness about the history of the American Indians contribute to the Jaylen Fryber shooting?

There is a long history of the atrocities that the American Indian people have faced. Thought to be the original people of the American land and now reduced to small tribes and a population that is non existent, there must be some bitterness towards Whites in this country and their locality such as Marysville, WA.

Could this bitterness have been manifested because of the past conflict between the American Indians and Europeans? Could the children who made the racist remarks sparked the bitterness in the freshman school teen that resulted in the Jaylen Fryberg shooting? Whatever the answer is for both questions, the bottom line is that the efforts to eliminate racism in the Marysville-Pilchuck High School have miserably failed. Parents and students of all races may believe that the Marysville Public School district has inadequate policies and procedures that will protect students from the adverse impact of racist bullying. Racist bullying involves treating someone differently or an offensive action against a person due to their skin color, culture, religion, nationality, or ethnic origin.

Racist Bullying can consist of

  • Physical abuse
  • Insulting or degrading comments and/or gestures
  • Name calling, insults or taunts
  • Offensive Graffiti
  • Tormenting and/or threatening
  • Humiliating and/or ridiculing
  • Abusive emails and/or texts
  • Damage to property
  • Being ignored and/or left out
  • Making fun of a persons custom/accent/religion/clothes/music
  • Refusing to work with someone from a different culture

As students return to school, teachers have a prime opportunity to bridge the racial gap between all students. To prepare the lesson you will need compare-contrast sheets titled ‘Physical Characteristics’. Since the student demographics include American Indian, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic, and White there are 42 distinct and different combinations to complete the compare contrast activity. Attain pictures of people in each ethnicity. Finalize your preparation by attaining a writing rubric.

After students have entered your room and you have competed attendance procedures announce to students that we are going to talk about how we can avoid racial bullying in our schools. Many students have already heard about what Marysville freshman Jordan Luton stated was the cause for the Jaylen Fryberg shooting. Distribute to each student a compare and contrast activity sheet along with pictures of their assigned ethnicity. Have students work in pairs to complete the activity.

Next, have students work in groups of fours to combine their list. Next have students work in groups of eight to combine their list. Next, ask each group of eight to announce their findings.

Tell students that the final step is important because we need for students in this class to be safe. When you make this announcement, students who believe that the school is racist will see the White teacher as someone who is there to help them. Instructs students to write a 300 word essay. The topic is

what can be done to ensure that students of different colors get along well in the school so that the school will never again have an incident such a as the Jaylen Fryberg shooting.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012


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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships


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