The Pelham school district is starting an investigation under the state Dignity for All Students Act after a Siwanoy Elementary School student made “a derogatory comment” to another about the color of the second student’s skin, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Cheryl Champ said in an email Thursday.
The district is also cooperating with the Pelham Manor police in investigating a separate incident in which the “n”-word racial slur was etched into a piece of Siwanoy playground equipment.
“Both of these actions are completely unacceptable and are not tolerated within our school community,” said Champ. Siwanoy Principal Farid Johnson “will be meeting with Siwanoy families on Tuesday to further discuss these concerns.”
“We remain committed to doing all that we can to foster an environment where all students feel welcome and none are subject to these hurtful acts because of their skin color, beliefs or background,” said Champ in the email. “We welcome families’ partnership in this endeavor and strongly encourage you to speak with your children about these acts, recognizing that we must work together to end racism and discrimination in our schools and community.”
“Our school district strives to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students,” the superintendent said. “Themes of diversity, inclusion, respect and kindness are often a key component of our school-wide town halls, reinforced through responsive classroom and morning meeting, and taught in the classroom.”