Author Event – Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

February 15, 2017 7-8:30 PM

Teja Arboleda
Mixed Feelings and In the Shadow of Race…Again

Dr. Bill Howe, also leading the discussion

Teja Arboleda, M.Ed. is a living example of diversity: Multiracial, multicultural and multiethnic, with a mixed family, having grown up in three countries, and having traveled around the globe. His personal and professional mission is to harness the power of diversity to create educational media and live events for a multicultural planet. He firmly believes that we don’t have to think outside of the box… because there is no box!

Multicultural educator Dr. Bill Howe joins the discussion. Dr. William (Bill) A. Howe provides training and consultation in multicultural education, culturally responsive education, diversity awareness and gender equity (Title IX). He is the former program manager for culturally responsive education, multicultural education, bullying & harassment, gender equity and civil rights at the Connecticut State Department of Education. He is also an adjunct professor of education at the University of Connecticut, Albertus Magnus College and Quinnipiac University. He is Past-Chair of the Connecticut Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission and Past President of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME).



Educators update anti-bullying messages to protect Muslims

1457198072865MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) — In response to a surge in reports of anti-Muslim bullying — students being called terrorists, having their head scarves ripped off and facing bias even from teachers — schools are expanding on efforts deployed in the past to help protect gays, racial minorities and other marginalized groups.

Civil rights organizations and other advocates have been working more closely with schools since the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, stirred a new backlash that led the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Education Department to urge vigilance on the bullying of Muslims.

While stressing that students have rights under the law, and that offenses should be reported, speakers at schools and mosques have also discussed how to create an inclusive culture, how Muslims are scapegoated for attacks and how non-Muslims can be allies to their peers.

“Muslim kids get bulled, gay kids get bullied because other kids are uncomfortable with them, and they show it,” said Bill Howe, a multicultural education specialist who spoke at an anti-bullying forum in December for children at Meriden’s Baitul Aman mosque. “That causes Muslim students to retreat, to be more isolated. They need to develop critical social skills so they can build relationships.”

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School to Prison Pipeline Forum

Policy Makers Discuss How to Interrupt School-to-Prison Pipeline

Watch Video

The first two years of high school were a breeze for Ibrahim Adetona. But he started to struggle during his junior year, and he was eventually suspended from school for 10 days. After that, his struggles got worse.

“I went from president of the [student] council, to not going to school on time,” Adetona said. “I went from honor roll to needing a tutor. I went from perfect attendance to, ‘Where’s Ibrahim?’”

Speaking in Hartford at a forum held by the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, Adetona joined two other students and policy-makers from Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts to discuss how to break the school-to-prison pipeline. The forum was recorded by CTN and can be watchedhere.

At one point, Adetona was arrested at Harding High School in Bridgeport for having an argument with his girlfriend. He spent two weeks in jail. What would have helped him get back on track after falling behind?

“I think help would have helped,” he said, which drew applause from the crowd.

He’s one of over thousands of students who end up in the juvenile justice system each year, a number that’s increased by a couple hundred kids since the state began tracking student arrests in 2011.

One of the problems is that Hispanic and African American students are arrested far more often than white kids.

A number of state laws were passed this year to deal with school-based arrests, such as increased funding for the school-based diversion initiative, or SBDI. 

But finding a way to deal with racial bias should be a top priority, says William Howe, a retired civil rights compliance officer in Connecticut.

“I have known many administrators and educators who have biases and poor attitudes towards students of color,” Howe said. “However, some of the most compassionate, professional, caring and dedicated people that I have worked with over the years, are school administrators, faculty, and staff who are simply overwhelmed and under-resourced.”

Howe added that zero-tolerance policies are a large part of the problem and that understanding bad behavior is more important than simply punishing a kid for being bad.