WALTHAM (CBS) – Some Waltham High School students are outraged.
Last month on social media, a white female senior classmate admitted into Curry College posted on her Instagram racially charged comments about a black student saying “this [n-word] from Curry somehow found out I’m going to Curry and now is asking to move me in. Not complaining because my jungle fever is about to come to life,’” the post said.
Sophomore Clifmon Leroy is furious. “As a black male I felt very offended. Over half the kids at our school are people of color so the fact that she thought she could get away with using that language is very disappointing,” Clifmon said.
The senior was disciplined privately by the administration which also did not sit well with many students. On Monday more than 600 students held a peaceful protest and sit-in at the high school.
“There is an issue with students not being informed when a punishment is being issued. It just gives the impression that students think it’s OK to say these things,” organizer Gladys Vargas said.
School officials say they are proud the way the students conducted themselves. “There was follow up with the student and that’s the one thing we learned is that when an issue like this happens we need to circle around and let everyone know,” Principal Greg DeMeo said.
The protest consisted of large and small group discussions and open dialogue with both faculty and students. One of the main topics is that words can hurt.
“Part of the reason why we had this protest is to bring awareness to that and let them realize the impact of their words have,” Clifmon said.
School officials say the female student no longer plans to attend Curry College and there are many lessons to be learned today by this protest.
“There are a lot of people who do support our cause and want to see this change and that makes me feel hopeful for the future of our school,” Clifmon said.
Both faculty and students agree this is just first step in improving race relations at Waltham High. They say there will be more of these rally and protest in the years to come.