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Albany High School community holding March 26 response to offensive photos

 

Albany and El Cerrito residents are planning a gathering on March 26 in response to racially offensive photographs posted on social media by Albany High School students.

The “#Albany4All” rally was announced online on Facebook and Nextdoor:

Albany and El Cerrito neighbors,

Join us in front of Albany High School on Sunday, March 26 at 11:45am. At noon, we will join hands around the school in a show of solidarity against racism and social injustice.

Come show that we are a community of love and healing. There is no place for hate in our communities & all are welcome here.

This is a public event.

Residents will meet at Albany High School, 603 Key Route Blvd.

A joint letter from the Albany Unified School District and the school board president was sent to the community on March 23 in response to the incident:

 

Dear AUSD Community,

 

Both Superintendent Williams and I know that the posting of racially offensive and hurtful pictures on Instagram has deeply impacted our community.  We are extremely disturbed by these photos and saddened that this occurred at AHS. Racially offensive and other hurtful behavior will not be tolerated at any of our schools. Our Board Policy states “The Board prohibits, at any District school or school activity, unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying of any student based on the student’s actual race, color, ancestry, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression; the perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.”

 

In accordance with existing Board policy, to the extent possible, district and school strategies shall focus on prevention of bullying by establishing clear rules for student conduct and strategies to establish a positive, collaborative school climate. Over the coming days, weeks and months, we will be reviewing our policies, curriculum, and training so that we can make sure our students grow to become the best world-citizens they can be. Our district leadership team is also working on a professional development plan for staff this spring and in the 2017-18 school year to provide staff with strategies to prevent and address issues around bullying, harassment, and racism including culturally responsive teaching and practices, and strategies to successfully address these issues when they arise.

 

Most immediately we need to salve the injury and hurt of the those who were victimized. We are committed to restoring the trust and comfort that all of our Albany schools are safe and harassment-free learning environments.

 

Superintendent Williams and her staff will be working with every constituent group that is interested in improving the learning environment and preventing racism and bullying in our schools.  As stated in our Mission and Vision statement, “AUSD is committed to creating comprehensive learning opportunities in a safe, supportive, and collaborative environment.”



Paul Black, AUSD Board President

 
Val Williams, Superintendent

 

Chris Treadway