LEE COUNTY, Fla. — A Southwest Florida woman has started a campaign to help Lee County Schools get multicultural crayons to better teach students about diversity and inclusion.
Fox 4 spoke to a former Lee County School teacher with over 18 years of experience.
She says diversity has always been a priority for her students.
“We get the standard sixteen box of crayons or eight colors every year, and it has never worked for me because I have students from all different backgrounds, ” said Lisa Barrentine.
Ms. Barrentine often purchases specialty multicultural crayons out of pocket for her students each year.
She says showing children a spectrum of skin tones encourages love and acceptance.
“I want them to be able to have that choice and say “oh yea I don’t have to be peach.” You get peach, you get black, brown and then the rainbow and that doesn’t work, ” said Barrentine.
Alise Bartley, a psychologist specializing in family counseling, says a child's formative years are when most insecurities are developed.
These crayons embrace differences that make us all unique.
“It lets us know that its okay to be that color. When we don’t have our skin color in a box of crayons it really sends a message that there is something wrong with our skin color, ” said Bartley.
Community activist, Connie Bennett-Martin has taken a stand in the push for inclusion,
starting a GoFundMe to raise funds for multicultural crayons for Lee County students.
“It really hit me that these crayons have not been available for children of color, of all the different colors that we are, ” said Bennett-Martin.
For many school systems, specialty items are not in the budget.
“While this is a big priority for me, sometimes it has to get lower on the priority list for other things that we may need, ” said Barrentine.
The goal of the campaign is to supply each Lee County School with 50 packs of crayons.
“It just was really sad to me that schools don’t naturally have this, ” said Bennett-Martin.
They are fighting to raise $12,000 for supplies.
“Any little thing that we can do to make a child feel more included, how can we not?, ” said Bennett-Martin.
For more information on how you can donate head to www.gofundme.com