“I would like to see this offered to everybody either on the weekend or outside of school time, not on the taxpayer dime,” said board member Sara Jonas during the meeting, according to the Daily Beast. “This day is for students to basically examine their privilege and to become aware of their own microaggressions and implicit bias, and focus on black and white race relations.”
The Daily Kos Elections Team talks about how the MAGA civil war might be hurting the GOP in races across the country on The Downballot podcast
Students took that as an opportunity to host it themselves off campus.
“You know, you never want to be the kid that goes to the high school that cancels Diversity Day, that’s not something you can be proud of,” said Turpin high school senior Johnny Wettengel.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Racial Diversity Awareness Day has been a tradition at Turpin High School for more than five years. The event traditionally includes a series of activities, discussions, video clips, and breakout sessions with guest speakers that focus on history, empathy, and the criminal justice system, according to the event’s permission slip obtained by the outlet.
This year’s event had planned to include guest speakers from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Back2Back Ministries Cincinnati, and Cincinnati's Citizen Complaint Authority.
This year the event was “canceled” not once but twice because some board members felt as though it promoted critical race theory. The latest cancelation allegedly came less than 24 hours before the event was to be held. Board members claimed this was due to a logistical error in that the event itinerary with permission slips to parents that were not sent. Many noted that various events had occurred on school grounds without permission slips.
According to WKRC, a special board meeting later revealed that board members had an issue with certain activities, language, and content of Diversity Day. One member even went as far as to suggest a different name because “Diversity Day” was allegedly offensive to Black families she knew in the district, she claimed.
Students and parents alike tweaked the language of the event, yet the district still canceled it and announced its decision in a newsletter. Prior to being canceled, the event was rescheduled at least once from March to May, Fox19 Cincinnati reported. Several protests have taken place in that time frame to keep the event from being canceled.
Parents and students alike reacted in anger to the announcement, with many taking to the school district’s Facebook page to express their feelings.
“How to tell people you are racist without saying it,” one community member commented.
Wettengel and another senior, Claire Mengel, are taking the lead in hosting the off-campus Diversity Day scheduled to be on May 18. They also plan to have a peaceful protest that day.
“If authority isn’t protecting your needs or listening to you, then they shouldn’t be in authority,” Mengel said.
“They have won the battle, but we will win the war,” Wettengel told WKRC.
Many parents and community members also expressed the need for a diversity day because of the district’s population. According to U.S. News & World Report, more than 90% of Turpin students are white.
While Diversity Day will be off campus, it will still only be for students at Turpin High School. A location has not yet been finalized.
Comments are closed on this story.