Committee's goals: Help minorities succeed

Members of the Carson City School District minority-success committee decided Wednesday night that the top priority will be to examine school culture, including safety, gang activity and fair enforcement of rules.

"Something has to happen soon," said Dorothy Martinez, the American Indian education adviser for Carson High. "We're having more and more confrontations."

The committee was formed after a group of American Indian parents complained to the school board that their children were unfairly questioned after a fight between an American Indian and Hispanic student.

On Wednesday, another fight broke out between a Hispanic and American Indian student at the high school, and each had a friend who also got involved.

All involved students were suspended for four days.

Although there has historically been tension between the two groups, school officials said Wednesday's fight was more about a personality conflict.

"We're being watchful to see if there is more to this than just two guys who have a problem with each other," said Carl Henry, dean of students. "There's no indication of that at this point."

The committee held its first meeting this month and created a list of 13 issues facing minority students in the Carson City School District.

The list was narrowed down to three main topics: school culture, parent involvement and understanding diverse cultures.

Parent Claudia Savaadra said she hopes the committee can find a way to interest parents in schools. She said she has noticed among her native Hispanic population that parents are often reluctant to get involved in their children's education.

"This doesn't come from any data or any books," she said. "It just comes from me. You've got to be involved from the very beginning."

Lisa Grayshield, a parent and representative of American Indians, also called for parental involvement, saying she would like to see more role models for minorities.

"When you go to the doctor, they know they can be a doctor, or when they got to school and see teachers and principals, they can be a teacher or principal," Grayshield explained. "It's difficult when there aren't any of them who look like us."

The next meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 10. The committee is expected to report to the school board on March 23.


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