Selinsgrove, to unknown visitors, appears as a family-friendly, quaint little town. With its playgrounds, picket fences, and pretty flowers. There is just about every type of fast food joint you can think of, and all kinds of outlet stores. Everything you see resembles a perfect place to live in central Pennsylvania.
Selinsgrove to me is a town that is limited. Not only in culture, but in acceptance. I am a biracial teen who has lived in this town my entire, thus far brief, life. As a student at Selinsgrove Area High School, I feel as though many minorities, including myself, are not particularly welcomed in the school. Although the staff does its best, they cannot change the beliefs of students and their parents. So, the question is, how do we solve this issue of ignorance of diversity?
Where do you draw the line when a student is being picked on for the color of their skin? Or the more passive forms of racism, such as the wearing and sporting of the Confederate Flag. Something so controversial specifically in our school. Although I have the argument that the flag stands for the acceptance and fight for slavery, others can argue that it’s just “Southern Pride.” So, I ask the question, who’s needs do we meet in the school? If we tell students they can’t wear confederate flag apparel, then they can argue that students can’t wear the pride flag. It’s a messy situation.
Selinsgrove Area High School has a total enrollment rate of 1.2% Asian, 1.6% African-American, 4.15% Hispanic and 3.5% multiracial students. This comes to only about 10% of students who are non-white. There is absolutely no diversity in staff at the school. Every teacher, aid, and staff member is white. Someone told me, “In the last 35 years we’ve had one teacher of color. But how can we make that better? We send out applications everywhere, but the people don’t reply. Why would they though? We don’t have a diverse school, and people of color aren’t going to want to come here like that.” They are correct. How do we solve the problem when we are doing everything in our power? Are we doing everything we can?
If we look at the neighboring school, Shikellamy High School, the African-American and Hispanic makeup alone, makes up 18.5 percent of the high school. That is almost double Selinsgrove. How do they do it? How can we make Selinsgrove Area School District the diverse and beautiful place I know it could be?