Assistant Principal Stroud
Assistant Principal Mitchell
The Beacon School
522 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
March 26, 2018
Dear Principal Lacey, Assistant Principal Stroud, and Assistant Principal Mitchell,
The PA’s Community and Cultural Diversity Committees met during the PA meeting on March 20, 2018. It was a very informative and positive discussion but there were also some concerns raised about diversity and inclusion within the Beacon student community. We know how important diversity and inclusion are at Beacon. It is reflected in Beacon’s sheer number of diverse students and teachers, it’s many diversity clubs, the curriculum itself, and even events like the recent Black Student Union show, which received rave reviews. But, despite Beacon’s efforts in being an inclusive and accepting diverse community, apparently, there have been some incidents of bullying, insensitivity and racial and cultural intolerance.
At the PA meeting, parents shared incidents and experiences relayed to them by their children. Multiple parents of Black students reported that their children had informed them that they consistently hear White students using the N word; which is very hurtful and too prevalent for them to address on an individual basis. They also complained of a Black Lives Matter poster with the word “Don’t” written with a marker before the word “Matter.” Muslim students have informed their parents that they hear derogatory remarks by non-Muslim students about the Muslim Student Union, suggesting that club members are terrorists. One parent expressed that her daughter does not want other students to know that she is Muslim because of other students’ anti-Muslim and derogatory behavior and views. Parents of students in the LatinX club reported that their children would like to organize a music and dance event but feel that their endeavors and interest aren’t being supported by school administration. A mother of a child with a disability said that her child is having a very hard time at Beacon because she doesn’t feel she is supported and included by the school community due to her disability. A parent who is from Queens said that her child is constantly mocked for being from Queens, with insensitive comments made about her accent and other children saying the only reason they would visit Queens would be to go to the airport.
We are raising these issues with you in the spirit of cooperation to see how we can support Beacon as parents to ensure that children of all races, religions, sexual orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and from all boroughs of New York City, including students with special needs, feel equally included and valued at Beacon. When our children become adults, their world will be even more diverse than it is now. In that context, to be able to value, understand and collaborate with people from different backgrounds will be more important than any other skill. To that goal, we would like to work with the administration and with the school at large to cultivate an environment that values and welcomes differences. We know that your first priority is the well-being of Beacon students, and we would welcome the opportunity to work with the administration and its students to help with Beacon’s diversity efforts.
The Beacon School Parent Association