Coxsackie-Athens Addresses “Racist Snowman” and Found Bullet
On Thursday, February 9th, Coxsackie-Athens School District released a public statement addressing two of the recent controversies surrounding the district community. Superintendent of Schools Randall W. Squier took to the district website and YouTube to make his address.
Coxsackie-Athens School District Responds to "Racist Snowman" Facebook Post
The first point that Mr. Squier addressed was the Facebook post that has been labeled the "racist snowman" by community members and the media.
On January 31st, the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District posted a picture showing off three of their students' latest creations: a playground snowman. The school district took to Facebook to post the photo of the students and their new friend.
The caption reads:
Today's CE Fourth Grade Playground Fun! This snowman is just as diverse as our students!
Since the post was put up, the school district has been under fire. People have no problem with the snowman itself, but rather the caption. Many of the comments having been attacking the school for its tone-deaf post.
Many people commented saying as people of color, they do not want to be compared to a dirty snowman. They do not want their skin color compared to mud and dirt, saying that the caption's attempt at inclusivity only feels "nonsensical" and "dehumanizing."
The post was taken down only 15 minutes after comments were made that the post was viewed as racist.
After the post was deleted, Mr. Squier, joined by the school district attorney, began an investigation. After working with the administrative team, the superintendent is recommending the following actions:
- Accelerating the timeline of training for all employees focused on making sure everyone feels and believes they belong in our schools.
- Implementing procedures that include two-step approval for Facebook and other social media platform posts and limiting comments on posts.
- Increasing the utilization of our website news and live feed to communicate to our school community about events, celebrations and happenings taking place in our schools. The C-A app is accessible to all community members and can provide instant notification when a new post is uploaded.
Mr. Squier, on behalf of the district, expressed remorse for the heartache that the post caused students, staff, parents and members of the community. Squier said, "Our work will be continuous in order that all children, families, and staff are embraced and valued so everyone feels they belong in our schools."
Coxsackie-Athens School District Responds to January 27th Hold in Place After Bullet was Found in the Middle School
The second half of Mr. Squier's address centered around the January 27th Hold in Place. On Friday, January 27th, a bullet was found on the floor of a classroom in the middle school. A student discovered the bullet on the floor and reported it to a staff member. The school immediately went into a hold in place to allow the administration to investigate.
Law enforcement began an immediate investigation as well that included a safety sweep of several rooms and other areas of the building with K-9 assistance. Busses were held until all students were released.
The following Monday, the middle school crisis response team met. Students were reminded that they could access support if they were feeling anxious about Friday’s events. A staff meeting was held as well to update all staff and remind them to keep an eye and ear open for students who may need support. Dr. Mercer met with all 5th and 6th graders in their classes and the kids who had good questions. The district safety team which includes law enforcement will be discussing the protocols for this type of event at its upcoming meeting and recommend any changes.
In his statement, Mr. Squier thanked the staff and First Student drivers for their flexibility that day, along with the Greene County Sheriff's Department and Albany County K-9 detail for their assistance. Mr. Squier said,
Coxsackie-Athens Schools have no higher priority than maintaining safe and secure school environments for teaching and learning. We take any incident as real and begin investigating it immediately by interviewing witnesses or anyone we ascertain may have information. We involve local law enforcement. If necessary, we activate our emergency procedures.
Mr. Squier continued by saying that this event will be used as a learning opportunity by reviewing their actions and taking advantage of opportunities to improve procedures.
For any questions, the Coxsackie-Athens School District urges people to reach out by calling 518-731-1710.
Hudson Valley Tattoo Company Empowers Students w/ Hallway Mural
New York License Plates by Birth Year