Against a backdrop of racial tension across the nation this summer, Wellesley finds itself addressing allegations of racial and ethnic harassment of its own involving high school students.
The content at the center of the controversy was shared by WHS students in a Facebook group chat that naturally did not stay private. Screenshots of the offensive content (which includes references to the N word and lynching) have been shared with us and many others, and there’s been much discussion of the posts online.
Wellesley Public School officials and local police have been notified of the matter and are investigating. This from Superintendent of Schools, Dr. David Lussier and WHS Principal, Jamie Chisum:
Dear Members of the WHS Community:
In the past few days, we have learned about disturbing allegations of racial/ethnic harassment as well as hate speech involving students from Wellesley High School and from some surrounding communities. While we are still in the process of investigating these allegations, we believe it is important to name such a visible violation of several of our Core Values including Respect for Human Differences, Cooperative and Caring Relationships, and Commitment to Community. These core values only mean something if their violation draws an immediate and visible response.
At a time when issues of race and division are challenging the nation, we should not assume that we are immune to these same challenges in Wellesley. To this end, perhaps there has never been a more important time to underscore our ongoing belief that our strength lies within the diversity of our community.
We will work diligently to ensure that our schools continue to be safe and productive learning environments for ALL students. As always, we will work with our community partners in the days ahead to meet this charge. We plan to share specific action steps we will be taking together as we move ahead in this process.
We thank you in advance for helping to underscore these important messages to our students and to our entire community.
Dr. David Lussier Dr. Jamie Chisum
Superintendent of Schools Principal, WHS