50° Larkspur, CA
The Student News Site of Redwood High School

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

What it means to be a Giant
What it means to be a Giant
Gil LadetzkyJune 22, 2024

In fifth grade, I attended my first-ever Redwood basketball game. It was a rainy Thursday night in a gym packed with energetic students. As I...

A high school student ridden with acne scrolls through social media posts of influencers with seemingly flawless skin from filters.
The bulging red bumps of your teen years shouldnt be normalized: Acne vulgaris, a detrimentally neglected disease
Emily HitchcockJune 20, 2024

Acne vulgaris is a chronic inflammatory disease —those red, white or scarred marks, the ones that stand out or grow beneath the skin as a painful...

Seniors launch their caps in their air as Dr. Barnaby Payne announces they have officially graduated.
Redwood class of 2024 graduates amid tears, cheers and airhorns: A celebration to remember
Cora ChampommierJune 15, 2024

  On Thursday, June 13, the Redwood class 2024 solidified their impact on the school over the past four years and became a step closer...

Ibram X. Kendi joins the TUHSD for a Stop-and-Learn

In a previous version of this article, we incorrectly stated that Professor Kendi was brought to the district by a written grant; Prof. Kendi was brought here by the District at the request of the Tam High School Black Student Union via a letter addressed to the Board in Oct. 2023. The article below has now been corrected. 

On Tuesday, May 21, the Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD) held the third “Stop-and-Learn” of the year following recent racial incidents from the past few weeks. All five high schools in the TUHSD, Redwood, Tamalpais (Tam), Archie Williams, San Andreas and Tamiscal, participated in the “Stop-and-Learn,” which consisted of a lesson presented by teachers, prior to a webinar with professor, author and anti-racist activist Ibram X. Kendi. The webinar was followed by a small group debrief in each class. 

Reflecting in a class discussion about participants’ first experiences with race, counselor Ian Scott shares his own experiences with students.

The webinar was led by senior Auvin Cole, one of the co-presidents of Tam’s Black Student Union (BSU), as well as assistant superintendent Kelly Lara. Kendi was brought to the “Stop and Learn” by the district at the request of Tam’s BSU.

Kendi spoke primarily about the concept of anti-racism, which he defined as the act of countering racial prejudice, systemic racism and oppression. He used a house as a metaphor for racism: each room is a racist policy, and the doors keep certain people in or out and suggest superiority. Additionally, Kendi suggested that anti-racism is an open-door house welcoming everyone. Throughout the webinar, Kendi reflected on his own experience with race growing up in Queens, New York. 

“When I started [hearing] about racism, I learned that there was nothing wrong with me [because of the color of my skin],” Kendi said. 

For students and staff, the “Stop-and-Learn” was seen as beneficial as there were plenty of new perspectives brought in by new voices. Counselor Ian Scott led a “Stop-and-Learn” lesson and was shocked by some of the statistics he heard during the webinar. 

Wellness Coordinator Spencer DeWoody and junior Ella Haack engage in a debrief of the “Stop-and-Learn” and reflect on their findings.

“[I learned that] Black high school students experience an act of racism five times a day. That statistic really jumped out at me,” Scott said. “I think it was good that we brought in Professor Kendi so it wasn’t just staff leading all of the ‘Stop-and-Learn.’ The discussion afterwards was beneficial too so that everyone could share about their own experiences.”

According to the attendance records, 25 percent of Redwood’s student body missed the “Stop and Learn,” showing how many students were unable to hear this vital information during the “Stop and Learn.”

The new approach to the “Stop-and-Learn” was also helpful for students. Senior Sarani Puri took a lot away from it, mainly due to its new format. 

“I really liked that it was moderated by a student and a teacher. Having a student there made it feel a lot more conversational,” Puri said. “It related the material to students more and [Kendi] had great, eye-opening things to say.”

 The fourth and final “Stop-and-Learn” of the school year was supposed to be held on June 3 and was going to  address anti-Semitism and Islamophobia within the TUHSD community however it was cancelled. This information was shared by Tara Taupier the Superintendent of TUHSD in an email. 

“Due to several factors and feedback we have received from many staff and parents, we are postponing the next Stop-and-Learn to the fall semester. We will hold the Addressing Islamophobia and Antisemitism in Schools on September 23rd,” Taupier said in an email to TUHSD staff. 

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Elsa Block
Elsa Block, Senior Staff Writer
Elsa Block is a senior at Redwood High School and a senior staff writer for the Bark. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, spending time outdoors, traveling and watching the sunset.