Lancaster forum tomorrow to focus on race with high school students

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 19, 2015 1:43 PM

(Lancaster) -- A school counselor and a group of graduate students are hoping to move the conversation about race forward in Lancaster County, as a first-of-its kind forum tomorrow hopes to reach high school students.

It's scheduled for Lancaster's HACC campus, and open to students in grades eight through 12.

Hempfield School District counselor Stephen Sharp has worked with graduate students to organize the event.

About 150 students will hear how to recognize racism, the history of race relations in Lancaster County, and also how to handle the topic in the community.

There's also breakout sessions on race in music, theatre and visual arts scheduled.

Speaking on WITF's Smart Talk, Sharp says it's a unique opportunity.

"Those rich breakout discussions that can really happen, that have been, I think, some parts that I can reflect in my college and graduate career, I think those windows for opportunity sometimes are fewer in our modern day classroom," he says. 

Sharp says students will also see how racism has played out in music, theatre and artwork.

"And they're going to engage in these conversations, they're going to explore aspects of themselves through the lens of race, and then they're going to be able to provide opportunities to learn a little bit more as far as ways to engage each other or to take it back to their schools," he says.

He says, before the forum, he found that much of the training was geared towards educators and not students.

A tool kit will be available for students and teachers after the forum as well.

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