“I posted a picture of the Civil Rights Movement and I said ‘Happy Black History Month. And don’t forget to keep advocating for black lives,'” she said.
Almost immediately, she said, the comments lit up with cruel racist jokes; words too defamatory to say or show on television, or reprint here. Among the tropes referenced were cotton, banana, and gun.
“It’s… it’s horrible. I don’t understand why people act like this,” Washington said. “Especially during Black History Month, or in general. It’s disgusting.”
Sanita Lewis said: ‘I can’t believe this is coming out of the mouths of kids in the community. “These are not strangers. These are people she went to grammar school, middle school with.”
Lewis’ daughter Olivia is Washington’s best friend. Both were immediately disappointed.
“Really, what I feel is I’m angry. I’m angry that it’s allowed, I’m angry that these kids feel empowered by anyone to make these kinds of statements.” , Lewis said.
The Snapchat issue happened last Friday. After that, Lewis’ daughter goes to school on Monday.
“Monday was when she told me she went to school and was called the nth word when she walked across the hall,” Lewis said.
“I felt unwelcome, and if I did go to school, I would be in danger simply because of how malicious and aggressive they were saying these things,” said Olivia Williams.
“I feel like a lot of people, especially minorities, who come to a predominantly white institution, feel like their voices don’t matter and they have to be quiet,” Washington said. when that’s not the answer.
Lyons Township South High School officials sent a message to school community members on February 4 saying they were “aware of social media posts going viral among students and their parents.” Contacts / posts … containing racist and hateful language have affected our learning environment.”
The school said it then took measures to bring students and staff together to participate in what the school calls a healing circle.
Officials went on to say the school will “continue to relentlessly pursue the creation of an inclusive school culture that focuses on belonging, respect, equality and empathy… LTHS does not tolerate… for any language, behavior or action that doesn’t support these. ideally.”
Washington, Williams and Lewis say the culture of racism girls have endured is not enough.
“What do you do for Black History Month? How do you acknowledge African-Americans in history, in the world, in your community?” Lewis wondered.
Both students said they intend to stay at the school there and continue to speak out when they encounter confrontations like these.
Full response by February 4th from school officials
We’re reaching out today because it’s important to include all members of our community as we work to support our students through an incident that has caused harm and left many lives. Felt unwelcome at LT.
We know social media posts are going viral among our students and parents. The communications/posts, which appear to have been shared by LTHS students, contain racist and hateful language that has affected our learning environment today.
Our team is currently working to investigate the situation, gather additional information, and assist affected students. Please note that we are collaborating with the Western Springs Police Department as we work to respond appropriately to this incident.
These types of situations reinforce the importance of the relationship we maintain with students, especially as it relates to school safety. Every student, parent, and staff member plays an important role, and we appreciate everyone’s efforts.
Lyons Township High School will continue to relentlessly pursue the creation of an inclusive school culture that focuses on belonging, respect, equality and empathy. We will continue to fight all forms of hurtful, discriminatory and/or racist behavior and words. So know that LTHS does not tolerate any language, behavior or actions that do not support these ideals.
We are working as a collective school community to foster a culture of belonging and we will continue to provide opportunities for student voices, especially as we navigate challenging times with as a school community.
Full response on February 8 from school officials
Our team continues to work to investigate the situation, gather additional information, and assist affected students.
As we continue our work as a collective school community to foster a culture of belonging, we will continue to provide opportunities for student voices, especially as we transcend through challenging times as a school community. Yesterday, during Wednesday and Thursday lunchtime, students and staff at the South Campus had the opportunity to come to the Library to participate in the Healing Circles. An announcement was shared in the morning to let students know about the opportunity. This gave students the opportunity to share, reflect and learn how we can heal together as a community. The Northern Campus organizes an After School Healing Round for students and staff in the Library; An announcement has been made to inform students and staff of our Northern Campus. Additionally, we’ve shared resources with our teachers as they continue to build knowledge and support students in the classroom.
As I have shared before, Lyons Township High School will continue to relentlessly pursue the creation of an inclusive school culture that focuses on belonging, respect, equality and empathy. We will continue to fight all forms of hurtful, discriminatory and/or racist behavior and words. So know that LTHS does not tolerate any language, behavior or actions that do not support these ideals.
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