NEWTON (CBS) — The Principal of Newton North High School Thursday sent a letter to the school community addressing several acts of racism and anti-Semitism that occurred at the school over the past year, and announced the creation of a council to address issues of race, gender, and cultural diversity.
Principal Mark Aronson said that he wanted to address the incidents in the wake of the events of last Friday’s Newton North-Catholic Memorial basketball game, during which Catholic Memorial students shouted an anti-Semitic chant in response to Newton North students’ taunts.
“In light of events at Friday’s basketball game, I wanted to provide more detail and share our plans to begin a community conversation about bias and tolerance at North,” wrote Aronson.
Aronson said that police were immediately informed in all cases of racism and anti-Semitism being committed, and the school was seeking to identify the perpetrators.
The principal said that anti-Semitic graffiti was found on a bathroom wall back in December, and that three more incidents of similar graffiti were found since Friday’s basketball game.
In addition, Aronson said four racist questions were submitted through an anonymous website as the Black Leadership Advisory Club prepared for Black Culture Day. Aronson said he spoke with attendees of Black Culture Day about the incidents and said they would be addressed.
Aronson said he informed faculty and staff of the details of the incidents on Tuesday.
One of the steps being taken to address the incidents is the creation of an advisory council that will address concerns about discrimination.
“On Thursday, I have invited all students and staff to attend a discussion on these issues, with the goal of creating an advisory council,” said Aronson. “This council will identify issues of race, gender, and cultural diversity and provide insight into how we can best address them within our schools and our community.”
“I look forward to engaging our students and the community in a meaningful dialogue about how we can celebrate our diversity and draw strength from it,” Aronson wrote.
He also encouraged anyone in the community to come forward with suggestions about advancing the conversation around tolerance.