Press: Emotionally Charged North Idaho School Meeting on Bullying, Racism

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In the wake of a north Idaho school trustee's inappropriate remark that many considered racist, a group of parents stood before the trustee and his colleagues Monday night to say that racism is a continuing problem in their school district.

Brent Regan, a trustee of the Coeur d'Alene School District, was participating in a discussion about firearms that included eight state legislators and more than 100 citizens on Jan. 26. That's when Regan shared part of a conversation with his wife:

"I said, 'They can't figure out what an assault weapon is—it's just black and it looks scary.' And she looks at me and says, 'Well, so is Obama.'"

This morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports that several parents stood before Regan to remind him that "racism does exist."

"Each student deserves an equal opportunity to an educational environment that is free of harassment and bullying," said Deon Watson, the father of a bi-racial family. Watson explained that his son, who graduated from Coeur d'Alene High School last year, was regularly subjected to "racist comments."

Another parent, Doneisa Eborall, also spoke of her daughter's experience.

"She was a seventh-grader last year, severely bullied," she said. "You have to stop bullying—the racist bullying, the higher class bullying, the girls who think they're better than everybody else bullying. It's affecting my kid."

Regan also took time at Monday's meeting to offer an apology for his earlier remarks, according to the Press.

"I made a regrettable comment and some people found it offensive, and I'm deeply sorry for that and I'd just like to take a moment to apologize to you, and the administration, the parents, the students and the teachers for any negative effects that that might have caused you, and distress, and bad reflection on the school district," he said.

Another trustee, board chair Terri Seymour, reportedly became choked up while speaking on the issue.

"I want it stopped. It needs to stop now, and I apologize and I will do my best to make sure that it stops," said Seymour. "I'm sorry. I get very emotional about it because my children were bullied also."

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