Black Student Allegedly Given Tampon with N-Word at Elite Manhattan High School, Sparks Outrage
A racist attack against a black student has sparked outrage among the community of a prestigious high school in New York City. Two students were suspended after the incident, and the school’s principal addressed the underlying causes of the attack.
According to the New York Daily News, a black student was the victim of a racist attack against her identity on March 15.
The girl, who happens to be the only female black student in the freshman class at the Eleanor Roosevelt High school in Manhattan, was handed a tampon with the message “[N-word] don’t have rights” on it.
Terrified and upset, the girl handed back the tampon to the perpetrators, one identified as white and one from the Middle East. Later, the girl told her friends about the incident, and they were the one to report the girls to the school’s administration.
Both aggressors were immediately suspended.
However, the incident drove Eleanor Roosevelt Principal, Dimitri Saliani, to suspend classes on Monday to hold a meeting with staff and parents at the school and address the situation and its underlying causes
A larger meeting was scheduled on Tuesday to discuss the incident and issues of bias and racism at the high school, where only three percent of students are black, and 64 percent of students are white.
The figures are unbelievable when compared to the overall public school system, where black students account for 26% of enrollment and white account for 15%.
Hispanic students comprise 12% of enrollment at Roosevelt despite accounting for more than 40% of the citywide student body.
Although is the first time a racist incident of this kind gets out to the public light, students at El-Ro, as they call the school, believe the institution’s admission policies are to blame, in part, for the underlying biased atmosphere that has been incubating in the school.
“I felt really infuriated; not really surprised,” said Veda Faust, 16, a junior student. “The place where you have to be for the next four years is somewhere where you feel like you don’t belong. Where people don’t want you there, and you’re not welcome.”
Another student, who preferred to remain anonymous, said:
“I think that El-Ro really preaches this whole diverse and this whole accepting environment, where it's actually really hard to create that when you have an almost entirely white school body. When things like this happen, it’s hard. It makes it seems like the school is lying."
City Education Department spokeswoman, Miranda Barbot, assured the press that officials at Eleanor Roosevelt investigated the incident and will be taking disciplinary actions for the perpetrators.
“Principal Saliani sent a school-wide letter and met with families to reaffirm the importance of a safe and supportive school environment,” Barbot said. “We are continuing to provide support to the school community.”
Unfortunately, Eleanor Roosevelt’s incident is the last on a string of racist incidents taking place at elite private schools. Last week, students and parents made protests at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn and Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx over other racist incidents.
The controversy comes amid Mayor Bill De Blasio's plan to overtake admissions at eight elite high schools, which currently admit students based on a single exam.
According to reports, black and Hispanic students, and kids from poor neighborhoods are rejected continuously at the top schools and sent to under-equipped schools.
“That’s why we’re doing something bold here, and we’re saying we’re not going to live by this old system that has perpetuated massive segregation — not just segregation, massive segregation,' De Blasio recently said on WNYC radio.
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