James Harvey: Schools must send clear message on racism

Sunday, April 09, 2017
Schools must send clear message on racism

I write in support of the Easthampton parents protesting their high school’s inadequate response to racism in their school by failing to send a clear message that racial hatred will not be tolerated (“Parents argue for removal of EHS principal,” April 6).

Recently I heard a couple of Hadley’s Hopkins Academy’s students expressing their frustration with the Hopkins’ administration’s response to a student posting a racist video on social media. They noted that the offender was given less punishment than a student of color who had committed a much less serious offense. That sends a very unfortunate message to all its students.

Racism is alive and well in our communities and our institutions seem unwilling or unable to deal with it. I would urge the Hadley School Committee, as well as other area school committees, to initiate an investigation to determine what their administrators are doing to change the culture that allows hatred to infect their schools. A good start would be to sit down with minority students to understand the problems minority students encounter.

Schools are important in the development of healthy values in our youth. We cannot stand by and allow bigotry to infect those values. The future of race relations in our county depends on it.

James Harvey