Watchung Hills HS officials condemn photo of students dressed as slave owner, slave

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Watchung Hills Regional High School officials are condemning a photo that appears to show two students dressed up as a slave owner and a slave for Halloween.

The photo shows two teenage boys, both of whom are white. One is wearing a cowboy hat and is holding a whip. The other has painted his face black and has a black Afro wig. The photo appears to have been posted on Snapchat.

“The Watchung Hills Regional High School District condemns, in the strongest terms possible, the conduct of some of our students,” Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett said in a letter sent to parents.

Jewett’s letter also said that school officials would discuss with the students “diversity, equity, tolerance and inclusion within our district and the community at large.”

Students met with school staff members on Wednesday to discuss the photo and “to unpack the events of the past several days and focus on the future.” Students were not required to participate in these discussions, according to Jewett’s letter.

It was unclear if the students in the photo would face any disciplinary action. But Jewett’s letter stated that she wished for this incident to serve as a teachable moment.

“Let us work toward restorative, rather than retributive, justice, repairing the harm done through cooperative processes that include all stakeholders,” Jewett said.

About 150 students participated in the diversity session.


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