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Racial Issues

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: The school district where we live consists primarily of low-income minorities. Although I like the idea of diversity, my daughter, who's in second grade, is the only white student in her class. I believe that is having a negative impact on my daughter, as she feels "different." Most of the kids in our immediate neighborhood go to alternative or private schools. I would like to apply for a transfer, but want to be very careful as to the reason for my request. Any advice?

A: You will want to be honest about your reason for asking for a transfer, but you also don't want to sound like you're leaving because you object to having your daughter in that school due to racial issues. Is it possible to request a specific school that has a special program of interest (emphasis on science or technology, for example)? Or is it possible to request another school based on where your daughter's friends go? You may be able to request a school closer to your work or to your daughter's afterschool care.

You may want to offer to help recruit other white students to move to the school your daughter attends now. That would help increase the percentage of white students and give her a group with which to identify.

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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


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