CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — The war in Ukraine is having fallout at metro Atlanta schools.
Parents say their bilingual, Russian-speaking children are being bullied and demeaned by other students.
Inna Crevoi and her friend have young children who speak Russian and English and attend Arnold Mill Elementary School in Cherokee County.
She said several days ago that her friend’s 12-year-old daughter was rejected by classmates when they went out to play. The little girl cried when she described what had happened.
“They told her, you’re Russian, you will attack us. We will have a third world war, and you will be in charge of it. So you will kill us. So they were blaming her. She didn’t know what was going on. She asked, ‘why would I kill you?’” Crevoi said.
Crevoi and the other parent sent a letter to the principal and teachers discussing their concerns. They wanted to raise awareness of national and cultural discrimination against Russian-speaking students. Incidents of intimidation against Russian-speaking students is on the rise.
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Crevoi, a social media coach, said she has heard from parents across the metro area and from other states.
“It’s not just in your school. It’s everywhere in the United States. I was shocked,” Crevoi said.
Child therapists say when children hear their parents talking about a crisis, like a war, they may speak out in a way that they think reflects their parents’ beliefs, but without context.
“Children mirror what see going on at home. And they don’t fully understand that these children aren’t involved in the Russian conflict. They need to show kindness and love to these kids, even if they do speak another language,” therapist Jennifer Kuck said.
The parents who complained said Arnold Mill Elementary School responded quickly to their concerns.
A teacher had the children who taunted the Russian-speaking student apologize.
The principal also contacted the parents of those students to discuss what had happened.
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