Oakland: School district apologizes for racist word in survey sent to families


OAKLAND, Calif. — Officials with the Oakland Unified School District apologized Oct. 22 for a racist term that was included in a survey sent out to families about returning to in-person learning.

The word was derogatory toward people of Asian descent. District officials said they replaced it with appropriate language once they discovered it.

How the racist term got into the survey is under investigation by the district and they have closed the survey for now as they try to determine the cause.

“We are sorry to anyone who saw it and felt the crushing weight of historic racism associated with the word,” district spokesman John Sasaki said in the statement sent out the evening of Oct. 22.

“To be clear, it is not a word that I or anyone who works for the District would use,” he said.

He said the racist language was not in the final version of the survey he saw before it was released.

Sasaki also said that at a different point in time an entire demographic category was removed from the survey. The cause of both problems may be a flaw in the technology system the district uses or something else, he said.

“We promise to do better in the future by, at a minimum, finding any digital security issue that might have led to these problems, stopping any possible outside actors who might have accessed the system, and redoubling our efforts to check everything to ensure all messaging from the District comes out exactly as planned,” Sasaki wrote in the statement.

A replacement survey will be sent out as soon as possible.

Families who completed the survey have had their responses recorded.

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