Students and administrators meet to discuss racial injustice


Nicolette O'Keefe

Assistant Principal Dave Mannon speaks with students on Monday, November 28.

On Monday, November 28, students protesting racial and cultural discrimination sat down with Riverside Brookfield High School administrators and discussed possible solutions to resolving racial injustice within the school.

A few weeks prior to the meeting, racist graffiti was found in one of the school’s bathrooms. In response, the administration addressed the issue by incorporating it into their planned Pride and Positivity Day assembly on Tuesday, November 22. Some students, however, felt that it was not enough to promote racial equality.

The students and administration had a respectful and assertive discussion regarding the reasoning behind the protests and ways to fix racial discrimination. Students expressed appreciation and thanked the administration for taking time to hear their thoughts and ideas.

“This is really cool that we could have this discussion,” said junior Casey Whisler.

At the meeting, students asked the administration to report out events, such as the racial event that occurred, in order to further understand the social environment at RB.

“[It is] important to know,” said Cameron Winkler, a freshman protester. She describes her experience at the Bulldog Pride Assembly where the protest had begun: “I didn’t know anything was taking place until the assembly.”

Another concern students expressed at the meeting was the influence their teachers have on controversial issues. The students put forth the idea that the student body will respond to incidents the way their teachers and administrators respond.

“The way you guys treat it is the way students are going to treat it,” senior Rosie Nolan.  “I think it would be nice to have it acknowledged at least once or twice.”

David Mannon, Assistant Principal of Student Affairs, agreed with Nolan.

“I’m always looking to increase the knowledge of our staff,” Mannon said.

Principal Kristin Smetana, at that time, suggested that concerned students should make their voices heard at the upcoming staff meeting on Thursday, December 1, to further deliberate potential fixes of the issues at RB.

“Maybe it would be good if we had some students come to the staff meeting,” said Smetana.

After the meeting on Monday and the staff meeting on Thursday, Safety Zone posters were hung in classrooms promoting the acceptance of differences in racial, cultural, religious, and ethnic areas, as well as socioeconomic background, ability, age, gender expression and sexual orientation.

Students and administration are in the process of finding more solutions to resolving discrimination.

“My goal for everything is awareness,” said Mannon.