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Message from Principal Harris regarding racist comments

Good evening students and families,

Earlier this afternoon, NHS students made me aware of social media posts being circulated which showed one of our students using racially violent language. I immediately notified the Superintendent, and our Title IX Coordinator, Assistant Superintendent Melissa Cooney, is conducting a full and thorough investigation of these posts.

The language and ideas expressed in these screenshots have no place in our classrooms, our community, indeed anywhere in our country. I cannot imagine the pain it causes our students, especially those of color, to see these, and am committed to supporting the Assistant Superintendent in fully investigating the incident and holding students accountable for their actions. In addition, this incident is undoubtedly one from which students will need time, space, and support in the coming weeks to heal. To that end, I will be reaching out tonight to our Board of Education student representatives, student leaders from our Diversify Club, Student Board, and Student Council, and faculty members of our Equity Alliance to begin planning for how we can deliver that time, space, and support. I would also encourage parents and students to contact me with thoughts and ideas, and I am working with the Superintendent to plan a community forum next week so that we can hear from you about your reactions and ideas for helping our school community heal.

Finally, I would like to thank all of the students who contacted me today to alert me of these posts. Over 100 students took the brave step of seeing injustice and calling for that injustice to be addressed; to all of you who wrote to me today, please know that you embodied Naugatuck's Vision of the Graduate today.

On behalf of all of the faculty and staff at NHS, we remain unequivocally committed to making our school safe, inclusive, and equitable for all of our students. Today is a reminder that those efforts must remain at the forefront of all we do.

Yours in allyship,

John Harris
Naugatuck High School