ACS Alumni speak up about racist experiences

Controversy surrounding Anchorage Christian School, or ACS began this past summer when former students revealed information about racist experiences and the curriculum. Many students have urged the school to comment on the controversy, but ACS has yet to address anything about it according to ADN.

Anchorage Christian School has had over 180 alumni come out to talk about daily racism they faced there. Photo courtesy of Alaska Public Media.

Former UAA Alumni Carlos and Gerardo Arias were one of many students that attended ACS. Carlos graduated from UAA in 2011 with a degree in anthropology, and Gerardo graduated from UAA in 2010 in journalism.

“One of the things I experienced was just blatant discrimination,” Carlos said in a recent interview with Alaska Teen Media.

They continued to speak about how the racial issues weren’t so much about the students but involved faculty and staff.

“It was the first time of your life being called racial slurs regularly,” Gerardo said in an interview with Alaska Teen Media.

Both brothers said that they knew little about other students’ experiences, but knew that they weren’t the only ones getting the racial comments.

“I think that people are just surprised about how in your face it was,” Carlos said in an interview with Alaska Teen Media.

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The Arias brothers also mentioned how they were taught different things in school than in a regular school. They said the curriculum would gloss over civil rights and slavery.

“They taught us that manifest destiny was God’s will for the white christians to move from east to west,” Carlos said in the interview with Alaska Teen Media.

Both brothers were heavily involved in sports such as track and field, cross country, and wrestling. They both said that the racist comments were specifically more prominent in sports.

“My personal issue with it was just the administration and the church both having such a strong political stance on issues were detrimental to people of color and lack of respect for people of color,” Carlos said in an interview with Alaska Teen Media.

The Arias brothers didn’t receive much help from ACS administrators regarding the discrimination and bullying they experienced either.

“I was getting bullied pretty severely in eighth grade so my parents went to the administration and said that I was being called racial slurs and beat up and their response was that it wasn’t racism that there isn’t racist in our school,” Gerardo said.

Pastor Ron Hoffman was appointed to be the lead pastor at the Anchorage Baptist school in 2019. He said he is willing to talk to each student about the problems they faced in school according to an ADN article.

Anchorage Baptist Church is in junction with Anchorage Christian School. Photo courtesy of Alaska Daily News.

In a follow-up interview, the brothers had nothing negative to say about their time at UAA.

“I don’t think I had one problem at UAA,” Carlos said.

Both brothers have now helped draft a legal memo to present to legislators and some public officials. This memo is to make it harder to make a private school in Alaska. Currently, it is extremely easy to make a private school in Alaska, but with these proposals in the memo, it would give more liability to the people in private schools.

The Arias brothers encourage people to check out their change.org page or share a post from @a.christian.school. They also encourage you to contact the legislature about this official memo. If you would like to listen to the whole podcast with the Arias brothers, you can go to Alaska Teen Media.

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