Administration alerts school to recent offensive incidents, encourages discussion

Becky Perelman, Sports Writing Editor

Two questions have come up in light of recent events at the high school and in the world: does everyone feel safe and how do we educate others?

On Feb. 25, Headmaster Anthony Meyer emailed the high school community about two recent events that happened at the high school over break.

According to the email a student at the high school posted a racist and derogatory Snapchat. Dean of Faculty Jenee Ramos said the student was wearing blackface. According to the email, one student who viewed the Snapchat notified their administrator about this event and “widened the circle.” Additionally, custodians found racist, homophobic graffiti done with large gold spray paint on the outside of the Schluntz gymnasium.

Due to these incidents, on Monday, Feb. 26, Ramos hosted student conversations that were held during first, second and third lunches in the Martin Luther King Jr. Room. The goal of the meetings was to allow students to talk to each other about the recent incidents that occured at the high school and in the world.

Although his email did not detail the next steps, Meyer said that the school administrators have started a Title VI investigation along with a police investigation to gain a sense of how many people viewed the Snapchat.

“Deans will determine appropriate disciplinary consequences, support and learning, and potentially restorative practices,” Meyer said, in the email.

Meyer said the graffiti was not similar to any of the graffiti that the administrators have seen before and, at this time, they have no way to determine by whom the graffiti was done.

Meyer said these incidents are frustrating for the high school community and listed ways for students to get involved. One of these ways was the student conversations. Both students and faculty attended the conversations. Although the meeting was geared towards race, the discussion also ended up covering the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the racist videos that came out in November.

The common view between students and faculty was that mandatory education about race should be done at the high school. Senior Yama Estime, who was one of 10 people present during the second lunch conversation, felt that more education should be focused on African American culture and history so that students can gain a better understanding.

“I think we should have a cultural day at the school to get to know different people, to get to know their backgrounds. I feel like that’s important,” Estime said.

Students felt strongly about starting this education in elementary schools because it is more difficult to change someone’s opinions at the high school level. Junior Vishni Samaraweera, who came to the second lunch discussion in the MLK room, said she feels as if the same people always attend events and assemblies meant to promote dialogue.

“It’s a difficult thing to organize events here because people are not always going to want to go, and I find that very difficult. We need to make an effort to start at a younger age. It would have a greater impact as we got older,” Samaraweera said.

Meyer’s email ended on a positive note, leaving the students as the main agents of change.

“My deepest belief is that you, our students will lead the way,” Meyer said.