Pittsford students walk out of school to protest district response to racist video


The students said they were upset not only by the video, but also by the way the district deals with racist incidents in general.

“It was as if Pittsford was still trying to sweep racism under the rug and put these issues aside and try to cover them up… to save their reputation,” said Jaylen Wims, Pittsford Sutherland senior and walkout organizer. Wednesday. “I hope to see some kind of fine lines… and more than one… a sense of security, fine lines drawn in the code of conduct and serious penalties for racism. Clear and concise things.”

Superintendent Michael Pero, who released the letter to the Pittsford community earlier this week, supported the student protest and said he had worked with the students to get their views on the current code of conduct.

Pero confirmed that the student wielding the airsoft gun in the four-month-old video, saying he was wearing it to “kill N-words”, was not at school.

“What our code of conduct would say in situations like this is that we suspend a student, then we have a hearing where an impartial hearing officer steps in, listens to the case and makes a recommendation. based on the next steps to be taken. ”said Pero.

It is not known when this hearing will take place.

Pero said there was nothing more serious or significant the district could have done regarding the consequences for the student in the video. He says he and the administrators were made aware of the video on Friday when a student emailed him about it.

After speaking to the media, Superintendent Pero spoke directly to the student organizers.

“You have to know that we love you. We care about you, we want you to be safe. I want to end this and I want to work with you to end it. Today was a great start,” a declared Pero. “Continue to be courageous, continue to be pioneers and work with me to end this. I don’t want to see hatred anywhere in our schools.”

The district plans to bring the students together at an assembly on Friday and hold parent forums to discuss incidents like the threatening video.

There is already a police presence in Pittsford schools, but Pero says he will work with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to increase that presence if needed.

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