This is not the first time in my career that I’ve seen such difficult and upsetting events occur; our own community isn’t immune to them. As you may have heard from your child, Greenwood also suffered its own troubling incident at the beginning of April, when one of our after-hours cleaners found a swastika that had been drawn anonymously in marker on a wall in the boys’ change room.
We responded by addressing the matter directly with the entire student body at a school assembly on April 3. We talked about the history of the symbol, about the depth of the hatred it represents and about how it is an affront to the values of our school and our community. And, of course, we made it clear that it wouldn’t be tolerated and that any student with knowledge of this incident should report it to school administration.
There have been no further incidents in our community since then – although one student did report seeing this symbol on a school bus used by Greenwood and shared with other schools. If anything, the speed and purpose with which that student brought this to our attention indicated that our message had an impact; the bus company was notified and they removed the symbol at once.
It’s not easy to see such hateful gestures appear, and we must confront them head on and model how to respond, calmly and forcefully. I encourage you to join us in using what’s happened at UCC and at Greenwood as an opportunity to discuss with your child the need to be vigilant and speak out against racism and hatred, wherever it appears.