Districts knew this school year would be different, and that our education system has never served youth of color adequately, so why didn’t they change it when they could? Instead of seizing the opportunity, they chose to do what was easiest for them. They reformatted the status quo for an online platform.

I have interacted with schools in King County as a caregiver, support staff, youth mentor with Friends of the Children-Seattle and advocate. I have witnessed forced assimilation to the white middle-class cultural norms that define benchmarks for student success. Schools follow an old structure that has more in common with a prison system than an education system.

Rather than continuing to perpetuate this harm, districts have an opportunity to honor the diversity of our students’ culture, family and lived experiences by changing the system. It’s not too late. Every profession has a code of ethics. It’s time for administrators to reexamine theirs. We should not have to bargain for our youth’s physical, emotional or mental safety. Celebrating their greatness should be guaranteed.

“If it’s not broke” does not fit here. It’s broken. Let’s fix it.

Sophia Moreno, Seattle