A 16-year-old high school student in Fairfield, Conn., was arrested last week over a racist Snapchat post allegedly directed at another student. School officials and police are still investigating the incident, and the principal of the school has announced the creation of a new organization to address racism and other forms of discrimination amid the incident.
NBC Connecticut reports that the unidentified student at Fairfield Warde High School was arrested after police were called to the school on May 7 and charged with ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race, as well as second-degree breach of peace. The teen is accused of posting a photo on Snapchat that included a Black male classmate and a racial slur directed at the classmate.
“We take these incidents very seriously and those involved are being held accountable in according with Board policy regarding school discipline,” Superintendent of Schools Michael Cummings said in a statement. “As we continue our equity work as a district, we recognize that this is a journey, not a destination. There will be missteps along the way, and while we are extremely disturbed by these incidents, they provide learning that can and will inform our work.”
Part of that “learning” apparently comes in the form of the Warde Unity Coalition, an organization formed “to foster unity in the school community,” according to the CtPost. Warde principal Paul A. Cavanna announced the formation of the organization in a letter sent to students and parents Monday.
“Racism will not be tolerated at Fairfield Warde High School,” Cavanna said.
The principal said he spoke with students on Monday morning, during extended homeroom, about the incident. He said he covered federal, state and Board of Education policies on discrimination and reminded students of resources available to them.
“Incidents of this nature do not define our school,” Cavanna said. “ It is the manner in which we respond that will define our school community moving forward. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that all members of our school community are treated with dignity and respect.”
But some are still not satisfied that enough is being done to hold the student responsible for the Snapchat post accountable. School officials were asked if any school disciplinary action, such as suspension, has been taken against the student and they said that in the “interest of student privacy” that information couldn’t be released.
An online petition has since been created demanding that the student be expelled.
“Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) shouldn’t have to encounter this type of racist harassment from other students in a predominantly white institution.” the petition reads, the Post reports. “Fairfield Warde High School should take racism seriously, and the student who posted the racist comment should be expelled immediately.”