CMS students come together to tackle race relations

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District (CMS) students are tackling race relations. An incident that happened at Ardrey Kell High School this year that involved disruptive students and hardly no serious consequences happening to them, caused a debate to happen at West Charlotte High School.

One staff member there referred to it as white privilege.

West Charlotte High School principal thought instead of having a debate about it why not get students involved in the conversation.

Ardrey Kell High School students traveled to West Charlotte High School on Tuesday to have discussions about tearing down stereotypes and building better race relations.

About 15 students from each school participated. They were chosen because they are considered school leaders.  Students who didn't participate believe this is a good idea.

"I think it's something that we really need in today's society," Ardrey Kell High School student Paige Verica said. "Race is really something that's hard to talk about and we don't have enough conversation about it, and it's something that we aren't taught to talk about it in school."

Students believe these talks can make a difference.

"I think if they can start it young, it'll prevent problems from happening later on in lives," Verica said.

Other students agree the talks are good but argue they will not improve already strained race relations.

"At the end of the day, it really has no effect on what they are going to think, because the society has set this image of whites being superior and blacks being inferior," West Charlotte High School student Marcus Berry said.

Administrators are hopeful young people continuing to have candid discussions will create a more equitable and prosperous world for everybody for years to come.

Students also talked about the differences at the schools. West Charlotte High School students say their school is great but lacks when it comes to certain resources.

"Here, we don't have the same economic advantages as they do over there," Berry said. "I feel as if it's a little diminishing."

No word when the next meeting will take place. Ardrey Kell High School students hope West Charlotte High School students will be able to come to their school.

Administrators say students will have more conversations around equity, systemic racism, implicit biases.

Students are excited about this collaboration. They are now calling their group West Kell.

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