Racist Incidents at Fresno Schools Have Led to a ‘State of Emergency,’ Trustee Says

A series of racist social media postings and pages targeting Black students at Fresno schools have led to anguish and distrust among people of color in the Central Valley community.

“Leaders of the Black Student Unions at Bullard and Edison high schools identified multiple accounts at middle and high schools that have been posting photos of Black students from Fresno-area middle schools and high schools without their consent. The accounts have also reposted racist images from the eras of slavery and Jim Crow. Some of the images depict violence against Black people,” the Fresno Bee reported Monday. 

“These discoveries were made in the wake of another photo that began circulating on social media last week, featuring a student wearing a white garment resembling a Ku Klux Klan hood in a Bullard High School weight room. Hundreds of students at Fresno high schools staged walkouts and protests Friday in response.”

Fresno Unified Trustee Keshia Thomas said “there is a sense that we’re in a state of emergency.” She helped organize a recent news conference of the Black Student Union at Edison High. Black students expressed disappointment at the lack of meaningful action despite a long history of racism at Fresno schools and in the broader community. 

At the conference, Thomas called for the creation of a commission dedicated to protecting students of color at Fresno Unified. Trustees Andy Levine and Valerie Davis, as well as Superintendent Bob Nelson, joined her. Thomas has accused the district of covering up acts of racism and white supremacy in Fresno schools. 

On Wednesday, Fresno Unified announced it had taken disciplinary action against students involved in the Ku Klux Klan photo. But that’s just one of a number of racist incidents identified by Black students. The district said it continues to investigate others.