‘Blacks only,’ ‘whites only’ signs posted on Ohio high school water fountains, parents say
CINCINNATI (WXIX/Gray News) – Signs recently appeared on the water fountains at a high school in Ohio appearing to segregate the water fountains along racial lines, according to parents.
According to WXIX, school officials at Colerain High School confirmed the signs were posted May 5 and then shared on social media.
The school’s principal sent a letter to parents saying, “The administration is taking this incident very seriously, as matters of racial insensitivity are not condoned or tolerated.”
“We will not stand for intolerance of any kind and will discipline any student who participates in displaying intolerant behavior,” Principal Erin Davis said in the letter.
Some parents take issue with the part of Davis’ letter that says even students who share the post online will be subject to disciplinary action.
They argue that some students wanted to let others know they were hurt, but the school is trying to silence them.
“These water fountains were labeled ‘blacks only,’ ‘whites only,’ which pushed us back so many generations,” said one parent who preferred to remain anonymous. “My heart dropped. I could not believe it. It was so offensive.”
The parents say in order for students to process information like this, they need to be able to talk about it openly without the chilling threat of censure from above.
A spokesperson for the school district called the signs “unacceptable on all levels” and a deviation from the district’s “culture of inclusivity, respect, kindness and compassion for everyone.”
According to the school’s spokesperson, an investigation into the matter revealed the signs were posted over the water fountains for 30 seconds and “were never seen by other students or staff members.”
“The three students involved in the incident posted the signs, took photos and removed the notes before posting the photos online,” the spokesperson explained.
The school district said the students involved have been disciplined for their actions.
Here is a full copy of the letter sent to parents:
Earlier today, Colerain High School (CHS) Administration was made aware of an inappropriate and racist message that was displayed at CHS. The administration is taking this incident very seriously, as matters of racial insensitivity are not condoned or tolerated. We are currently in the process of investigating this matter. At this time, we have identified two students who were involved. Additionally, we have been made aware that the posting has been shared on social media. Any student, including those who are found to have taken part in sharing the post online will also be subject to disciplinary action.
The actions that were displayed do not reflect the values and culture of Colerain High School or the Northwest Local School District. CHS stands firm on creating a culture of inclusivity, respect, kindness and compassion. As a school community it is our responsibility to make sure that our CHS family uphold and live out these values. We will not stand for intolerance of any kind and will discipline any student who participates in displaying intolerant behavior.
Colerain High School
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