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Visalia Unified To Hold Student Forum On Social Justice And Police Brutality

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In early July, the Visalia Unified School District removed Black Lives Matter posters placed by students along a fence outside El Diamante High School.  While some saw this act as silencing free speech, the district says it was trying to protect students. Now the district is creating a new space for students to engage.

 

Brandon Gridiron is the district’s Administrator of Equity. He says the decision to take down the signs came solely out of concern for the safety of the students after several adults became aggressive.

 

“Adults within our community decided to take it upon themselves to show their disapproval of the signs,” Gridiron said. “And what happened is they decided to engage in conflict and contention with some of our kids.”  

 

Gridiron says he saw adults drive by yelling racial slurs and waving Confederate flags. In response, the district held a forum to address social justice and police brutality with 15 students, three district staff members, and the Visalia police chief. 

 

“The forum was scheduled to get input from the students about how can we make sure their voices are heard but do it in a way that doesn’t put you at risk of a safety issue,” he said.  

 

Still, students said the June 30th forum was not big enough. Another much larger online forum will take place at the end of July, according to Gridiron.  For more information visit vusd.org.  

Madi Bolanos covered immigration and underserved communities for KVPR from 2020-2022. Before joining the station, she interned for POLITCO in Washington D.C. where she reported on US trade and agriculture as well as indigenous women’s issues during the Canadian election. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in anthropology from San Francisco State University. Madi spent a semester studying at the Danish Media and Journalism School where she covered EU policies in Brussels and alleged police brutality at the Croatian-Serbian border.