FARMINGTON, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Parents in Farmington said a student of color was attacked in what may have been a racially-motivated incident. In response, young voices called for change in a protest Friday.
Junior high students protested in front of the school, hoisting signs and chanting popular slogans from the Black Lives Matter-era protests. Derek Van Voast, a community organizer, said people are working to change district policies to keep racially-motivated attacks from happening again.
“Once you start implementing policy changes in schools, I think that can go out to every school district,” Van Voast said.
School was dismissed early in preparation for the protest. The school district confirmed there was an incident but wouldn’t comment on specifics.
Farmington School District is not immune to the social issues currently affecting our nation. WeFARMINGTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRESS RELEASE
will always strive to be part of the solution. Anytime improper conduct is reported, or we learn of
it, the district takes immediate steps consistent with our policies to thoroughly investigate the
incident and address it through disciplinary procedures and extended services. The District has
taken appropriate action to investigate the situation and assure the safety of students. When it is
appropriate, we also report such matters to the authorities. Any unjust treatment of people
especially on the grounds of race, age, sex, or disability is unacceptable. We are committed to
student safety. The safety and success of our students and staff is our top priority.
“It was children,” Van Voast said. “I think education’s important, educating both [students who were involved.]”
Van Voast said Farmington doesn’t deserve all the negative backlash it’s getting, referencing the work they’re doing to increase the volume of Black voices in administrative roles and the addition of a new superintendent who appears to be attuned to social justice.
“They’ve hired a couple African-American coaches,” Van Voast said. “A lot of schools talk about it, but they’re not hiring. They’re just talking about change.”
Van Voast said he hopes the school can implement changes that help students of color.
“Everybody’s supposed to make sure the children are safe and that these children’s voices are heard,” Van Voast said. “So far, everybody’s done that from my understanding.”