“We want inclusion for all, regardless of race, creed or color,” RPS Superintendent Bedden.
Over two years ago amidst racial tension between African-american and Hispanic students at Huguenot High School, school administrators made a mistake. Fights had broken out and rumors were that a bigger incident was about to take place. Huguenot officials requested that a number of Hispanic students go to a central location. At that location they were searched and threatened with deportation. The situation was not exacerbated by the lack of Spanish speaking staff. (Read more about the incident and ensuing protests here.)
After the incident the Multi Cultural Task Force was created to help the entire school system deal with the issues of racial equality but nobody involved in the Huguenot incident were invited to be a part. Earlier this year Superintendent Bedden disbanded the Task Force, citing ineffectiveness in dealing with the core issues.
Yesterday at Huguenot High School Superintendent Bedden (who wasn’t Superintendent at the time) and Principal Jafar Barakat held an assembly and issued a formal apology.
Monday, Bedden apologized repeatedly to about 500 juniors and seniors in the school auditorium, then again in the library in front of members of the media.
“We want inclusion for all, regardless of race, creed or color,” he said.
He also apologized to the Huguenot faculty and staff, saying the school system needs to do a better job of providing the tools and training needed in an increasingly diverse city.
He talked about $1 million worth of items in next year’s budget for more staff and training.
“Is it enough? No,” he said. “But it’s a start.”