A White 15-year-old student at a high school near Miami started a petition to get rid of the classification “Negro” on a racial background form, saying that he found the term “offensive.” Jake Edri, a 10th-grader at Deerfield Beach High School, said he was afraid that students would feel as if using “Negro” was OK after seeing it in the Broward County public school booklet, so he ad a friend began the tedious task of collecting signatures. The 200 names they gathered before Tuesday’s School Board meeting paid off. “I figured, if I bring this up to the School Board, I can do something about it,” he Jake said. “I attend an ethnically diverse school,” said Jake. “I and other students have found page 9 of the code of conduct offensive.” Page 9 of the code of student conduct booklet (titled “Required Data From Parents”) asked two questions: “Is your child Hispanic or Latino?” and “What is your child’s race?” Under the race category is Black or African American. It goes on to say that “A person having origins in any Black racial groups in Africa. Terms such as `Haitian’ or `Negro’ can be used in addition to `Black or African American.’” Parents were required to sign the form and return it to the school. The district collects the information in compliance with federal guidelines to help track changing demographics and determine the best way to distribute school funding. Jake wasn’t the only person irked by the term “Negro.” Broward County Schools Superintendent Jim Notter said he “got a call from a parent and asked his staff to investigate. The county sent a memo to principals last week urging them to nix the language. “I couldn’t pull 250,000 books back to completely redo one page, but we gave clear direction to the principals,” Notter said.
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