On Thursday one of our Homework Help students came into my office. She does that often, just checks in before getting to her homework. She is Oromo, a 9th grader at a Minneapolis Catholic school, Muslim and wears a hijab. This school seems to be a good school for her. She has struggled her first semester. Apparently, her grade school didn’t really prepare her for high school. But she has settled in and is doing fine. Joe had told me at the Wednesday Night Supper that she had had a bad experience downtown. And so I asked her.
She had been downtown at her work site. Every student at this high school has a job placement as part of their school week. While she was waiting for her taxi to come to Homework Help a 40-ish white woman, bigger than her, walked up to her and told her to go home, to where she came from. Others were standing there and no one said or did anything. This woman went on to say that her brother married a Somali woman and that she, this particular woman, hates her brother’s kids. Our student knew that if she said or did anything it would escalate, not to mention the fact that she no longer felt safe as she waited. She said she couldn’t believe it. She was born in the U.S. This has been her only home. She is an excellent student. She felt totally alone and not safe. But she had to wait for her taxi.
I told her that what that woman said was wrong and she shouldn’t have to hear things like that. And I said that I hoped she knew she was safe at Trinity. She went on to say that Homework Help is her second home. She knows she is safe at Trinity.
I really didn’t know what else to say. I would like to have said that I wish I would have been there so that I could have said something. But I didn’t say that. I wasn’t ready to make a promise I might not be able to keep.
Original journal entry date: 2/6/17
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