Press Release

Students speak out on S. 103

VT Student Anti-Racism Network

Instagram: @vsarn

We are the Vermont Student Anti-Racism Network, a statewide group of students working to promote anti-racism in our schools and communities. We believe that by starting by fostering anti-racism with the youngest members of society – students –  we can build a better society as a whole. 

We are writing about S.103, an act relating to amending the prohibitions against discrimination. This bill would lower the standards necessary to pursue a harassment claim, which would be beneficial to all Vermonters. According to the Human Rights Commission, only 1 out of 200 harassment cases actually make it to be heard. This bill would work to address this inequity, while also extending the harassment protections to students.

The section of this bill that is especially applicable to us as students, is the part that would implement these harassment standards in our schools. Students across the state and in our schools face racism, ableism, sexism, and other inequalities daily throughout their educational journey. We are already fighting for their right to safe education; We shouldn’t have to fight to have our harassment complaints heard. We believe that the provision which would include students under the harassment protections is an extremely vital part of this bill, and needs to be included in order for it to pass.

Imagine this: a teacher and a student both experience harassment from their principal. Under the current harassment standards, only the teacher would be able to file a claim on this. The student would not be able to. 

We believe this is an injustice.

An argument voiced by legislators and others is that education officials and schools do not have the capacity to deal with the harassment complaints being heard. We understand the many demands that are put on educators and staff members by their schools, but allowing students to pursue harassment claims is vital to our mental and physical health. If schools are for students, then they are worth our safety.

VSARN is passionate about building inclusive and just school systems that are centered on student well-being and safety. We believe that the S.103 bill would accomplish this goal. There is no harm to ensuring that we, as students, feel protected in our schools where we spend roughly 35 hours per week. Our question to you is, why wouldn’t we want to prioritize the safety of the next generation across our state?

We hope legislators and advocates will hear our request for S.103 to be passed WITH the student section. 

If you are a community member who wants to learn more, you can visit and write to the House Education Committee with your thoughts.

We appreciate all the work of Vermonters on this issue and hope that we can see positive change come out of it.

Categories: Press Release

4 replies »

  1. Child, you know not of what you speak. This is just another way to place a divide between “US AND THEM”. As a Vermonter who faced Real discrimination you have no clue because these laws are nothing but a repeat of already existing laws both state and federal. Pleas reread it carefully. Notice the section that speaks of discrimination.
    See the caveat ? If you don’t let me enlighten you. The bill allows discrimination. but not based on the “protected” status. You see being an “at will state” jobs are come and go based on the whims of the employer. If it is the state , try going to court and actually seeing a jury and getting a favorable verdict for discrimination. NO, Vermont either settles cheaply or just makes it go away, as in my case.

    No, the real problem in schools are not the teachers but fellow students. I was forced into counseling and other BS because the school would not believe the kids behind me were saying stuff that, well, I will only use your imagination to articulate.
    Needless to say I did not wait until recess to defend myself. Was I ever believed. No. Not even when a racist teacher beat me up. Then it was still my fault and nothing happened to him and I was moved with resentment from the town to another school.
    Changing a law will not help, only educating TEACHERS and ADMINISTRATION will fix the issue of discrimination in schools.
    As far as trans stuff, just get them the counseling they so desperately need and not STATE sanctioned counseling and don’t hide it from their parents. 25+ years after grade school I have my best friend’s daughter who is a half breed tell me of the same garbage happening to her and guess what, the people in charge did nothing but label her a troublemaker, so, nothing has changed.
    Lastly, does anybody realize that kind of thinking actually come from the PARENTS?!?

  2. Instead of the line that the kid declared from the film “Sixth Sense”: “I see dead people”…… these kids all have a collective chorus of: “I see racism”.

    They have no idea that they are being programmed just like little walking, talking robots.