Faced with complaints from parents and students about racial insensitivity, state and local education officials have dropped the word negro from a racial background form that went out to every Broward public school student the first day of school.
The form, on page 9 of the code of student conduct booklet and titled “Required Data From Parents,” asked two questions: the yes-or-no “Is your child Hispanic or Latino?” and the multiple-choice “What is your child’s race?”
The options under race included Black or African American. The description that follows reads: “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 had to sign the form and return it to the school so the district could compile federally required data. The information helps track changing demographics and allocate school funding.
The word “Negro” concerned a few parents, who called the school district and the Florida Department of Education to complain.
It also caught the eye of Jake Edri, a 15-year-old 10th-grader at Deerfield Beach High School, who said he feared seeing “Negro” in a district-issued booklet could lead students to believe using that word was OK. He started a petition, with his principal’s permission, to ask that the wording be changed.
“I figured, if I bring this up to the School Board, I can do something about it,” Jake said.
He and a friend collected more than 200 signatures between Thursday afternoon and Monday and spoke before the board at a meeting Tuesday.
“I attend an ethnically diverse school,” said Jake, who is white. “I and other students have found page 9 of the code of conduct offensive.”