NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS/CNN) - An Illinois school district hosted a diversity and inclusion forum Thursday with community members, teachers, staff, parents and students.
The focus of the discussion was on an apparent uptick in racism in the west suburb of Chicago.
The event took place after a 14-year-old posted a photo of a black student on Craigslist with the caption "Slave for sale."
School parents and community members held a frank discussion about race.
Dr. Rakeda A. Leaks, diversity and inclusion director for the district, said the dialogue was a "necessary step in helping our community heal."
"I think it's very important to actually have these conversations," said Temeka Booker, a parent of a Naperville student. "They're very, very hard conversations to have."
Last month in the city, a group of parents and kids at Buffalo Wild Wings said they were told to move tables, because a customer didn't want to sit near black people.
The student at Naperville Central suspected of posting the Craigslist was charged two counts of committing a hate crime and one count of disorderly conduct, police said.
Tamara Wallace, the mother of the boy in the picture, gave her reaction.
"It seemed like in a matter of one post, everything that I've taught my child about his skin color, just seemed like it was diminished," she said.
Wallace said her son has endured previous racial taunts from the same student and believes school officials could have done more.
"When I heard about it, I thought the police should've been called," Wallace said. "When the police heard about it, they felt like they should've been called."
Dan Bridges, the school district superintendent, pledged to keep talking and listening.
"We as a school district and we as a community need to be better," he said.