Amherst school officials, students address racist graffiti found at high school

  • Amherst Regional High School GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 11/29/2021 8:11:59 PM
Modified: 11/29/2021 8:11:27 PM

AMHERST — A racist slur and a swastika written on a desk outside Amherst Regional High School in early November is prompting school officials to work with students and teachers on improving diversity and equity initiatives.

Superintendent Michael Morris said Monday that on Nov. 8, the day after the incident was reported, an email was sent to all school families, students and staff to notify them about what had occurred.

Then, the following week, students spent a class in advisory groups, facilitated by a staff member, to discuss the incident and its impact on the school community, Morris said. The administration, he said, is committed to redoubling efforts on diversity and equity.

“The students offered feedback that is being analyzed to use as next steps,” Morris said.

Signed by Morris, Assistant Superintendent Doreen Cunningham high school Principal Talib Sadiq, and Summit Academy Principal David Slovin, the Nov. 8 communication notes that “the drawings were a blatant violation of school policy, and, more importantly, our community’s core values. No one should ever have to come to work or school and experience discrimination and bigotry in any form.”

Morris said there are no leads as to who committed the act. Amherst police were also alerted to the incident.

Last December, school administrators and police investigated racist and anti-Semitic graffiti drawn in chalk outside the same building, though no person responsible for the graffiti was identified.

“In recent years, our schools have engaged in anti-racist educational programming, for both students and staff, designed to broaden perspectives and create greater cultural awareness,” the letter reads. “We are fully committed to continuing this work, clearly, we still have much to do when it comes to embodying a fully inclusive, hate-free, and understanding community.”

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