In the months before between January and May, 2017, some students at Piedmont High School engaged in a series of insulting actions, including: arranging themselves on the floor into the shape of a swastika, making “Heil Hitler” salutes in the hallways, and making comments including “f***ing Jew”, “burn in Auschwitz”, “n**ger”, and “go back to the plantation” to other students.
- The PUSD Administration met with the parents of the offending students, and a total of 11 students were suspended for from 1 to 3 days for their part in the actions.
- Students and Randy Booker participated in a school assembly in which several students spoke, reading letters from other students. The letters were written by a Jewish student, an African-American student, an Asian-American student, and an LGBTQ student. The same day Randy Booker wrote a letter to all of the PHS/MHS parents about the incidents and assembly.
- KTVU aired a segment on these issues at PHS, in which several students were interviewed about the incidents and the assembly that addressed them: http://www.ktvu.com/news/253637631-story
- Since the time of that report, students who have made complaints have been criticized and in some cases threatened.
- See also www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/05/10/anti-semitic-behavior-racial-slurs-reported-at-piedmont-high-school/
- Suspensions of several students were announced. Booker is reported as telling press that over the summer, educators will come up with a curriculum to launch in the fall to curb bias and bigotry. http://www.ktvu.com/news/254020689-story
- Mr. Mapes (PHS Principal) came to the English classes at PHS and introduced the students to the Title 9 supervisor, someone that students can reach out to for any discrimination issues. He also mentioned for next year an idea to form a student led coalition on discrimination/race/equality, a place for students to reach out to help appease discriminatory acts that take place at the school.
- Booker and Wozniak did something similar at PHS/MHS
- Booker letter to PUSD Families outlining more particulars and a link to a newly developed Highlander Hotline for reporting future incidents where students can make these reports directly from their Chromebooks.
- A letter signed by every member of the PUSD Board of Education regarding these incidents was sent to all PUSD families: Board’s letter
- Share Your Voice gathering, organized by students Hannah Marcus, Nina Adarkar and Maya Guzdar for students scheduled at PHS.
What PADC is doing:
- Participating in meetings with PUSD, PPD and community members to help identify the concerns as well as approaches to respond to and prevent such incidents in the future.
- Communicating ongoing concerns to the PUSD Board Members and Piedmont City Officials
- Reaching out to parents of students who have been touched by the insults and the repercussions of speaking out.
- Communicating with religious leaders
- Supporting PHS students who have been working on these issues through a student-led effort called Share Your Voice.
- Proposing a number of approaches to follow up, including Restorative Justice Circles
- Working with the Appreciating Diversity Film Series Committee to identify films and speakers that might be helpful going forward.
- We plan to be present at the 5/24 School Board meeting to present our observations and perspectives
- We have agreed to partner with the Piedmont Recreation Department as they review and update their policies and procedures. They are committed to maintaining an emotionally safe environment for all the youth that pass through their programs.