California School District Apologizes for Planning ‘Support Circle for White Students’ Amid Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict

Illustration for article titled California School District Apologizes for Planning ‘Support Circle for White Students’ Amid Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict
Photo: Matej Kastelic (Shutterstock)

Have you ever come across a story that you know you’re supposed to be upset and offended by, but it’s just so damn hilarious that you forget to be disgusted?

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School officials in Piedmont, Calif., are apologizing for their plans to organize a “support circle for white students” who might be deep in their “back the blue” feelings over ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin being found guilty of murdering George Floyd.

I know, I know; this is really fucked up and offensive—until you imagine a bunch of gloomy white teens sitting around the room doing their best Tucker Carlson impersonations while crying about systemic anti-blue-ism as other students form a grief circle around them and pass around tissue boxes for them to boo-hoo into.

From the Daily Beast:

A day after the white former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty last month of murdering George Floyd, who was Black, the assistant superintendent of the Piedmont Unified School District reached out to students and staff offering the chance to engage in dialogue about the nation-changing trial.

But there was one problem: The “restorative community circles” on offer were all segregated, and the white students, bizarrely, were seemingly treated as if they had personally been victimized by the Chauvin trial.

According to an email obtained by SFGate, the message from assistant superintendent Cheryl Wozniak invited white students to a support group where they could “discuss how the trial, verdict, and experiences related to the George Floyd murder are impacting you.”

Two counselors would be available “for our White students to process [and] share… to one another,” Wozniak said.

I’m sorry, I just…

*deep inhale*

AHHHH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA *catches breath* HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!

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*hard exhale*

*fixes face*

I shouldn’t laugh; this could have been tragic.

I mean, some poor school janitor would have had to mop up all of those white tears and they probably wouldn’t have been paid for the overtime. *snickers*

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Apparently, there were also support circles planned for Black and other students of color to discuss the impact of the trial and verdict—and I guess school officials didn’t catch on to the irony of students in segregated support groups discussing a case in which racism played such a crucial role—but the whole thing ended up being a bust once students took to social media to complain about the providing of an I Heart White Privilege group.

Anyway, Superintendent Randall Booker eventually issued a formal apology saying that a “poor choice of words in the subject line of the invitation to white students led to the perception that white students needed the same kind of ‘support’ as our BIPOC students.”

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According to East Bay Times, Booker and other school officials continued their apology tour during a Piedmont Unified School District board meeting last week.

“We apologize for the harm that has been caused by events and intend to repair that harm,” Booker said. “My role is to call out systems of structural oppression; inequities that promote them led to where these exist in our district. We need to live up to our board policy on racial equity. It’s still in infancy steps. We are working hard to catch up and not shrink back. We need to learn and grow together.”

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PUSD Board President Cory Smegal also acknowledged that while “over the past week” the district has confirmed its “commitment to racial justice and continuing the work of anti-racism,” and apologized profusely for providing space for the district’s nearly 75 percent white student body to pontificate about the verdict’s impact on whiteness, “this week, some are telling us that these efforts are not enough and that there needs to be consequences and more accountability.”

According to SF Gate, only three percent of the district’s students are Black. So, I guess when you think about the probable size difference between the support groups and how the potentially massive white group would have needed and been given the most space, this story isn’t so funny.

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I mean, they would have needed a whole army of janitors. *snickers*

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

DISCUSSION

nosleep4giant
Non Sleeping Giant

I don’t think I can be in this country anymore.

I think I have to leave, again.

I can’t with these kinds of white folks. These are the worse batch and they’re making junior hellions in their wake.

I can’t keep just making comments. Just engaging them, fruitlessly.

I have to get away.