Community responds to student post of racist image with spaces for discussion, healing


Midway Staff

After a racist incident involving a social media post by a U-High student, members of the Lab community reacted in different ways.

More than 20 students attended a lunchtime discussion that Student Council hosted Dec. 17 following a racist image and caption posted by a student on Snapchat Dec. 13. The discussion was for students to share reactions, opinions on how the community should respond and feelings about the general climate at U-High.

Many students commented that this incident, with a caption that included negative words about black people, was not an anomaly, but a disappointingly frequent occurrence. Laboratory Schools Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Priyanka Rupani echoed this sentiment.

“I recognize that situations like this have happened before, but that should not minimize the pain,” Ms. Rupani said. 

Really my only hope would be that people stop taking racist comments as just jokes and small mistakes but treat them the way they should.

— Jaden Lynch, senior

To senior Jaden Lynch, who is black, it didn’t seem like an irregular incident at Lab. Because of that, he said he wasn’t surprised.

“Really my only hope would be that people stop taking racist comments as just jokes and small mistakes but treat them the way they should,” Jaden said.

Faculty Chair Sharon Housinger had organized a meeting Dec. 16 for faculty to respond and express their support for black faculty who may be feeling threatened based on the content of the comment. 

“People are anxious, worried, angry — and we need to be there to support everyone,” Ms. Housinger said.

Ms. Housinger also said that U-High is a community that does not tolerate this kind of hate speech and responses need to demonstrate the same. 

Naadia Owens, who teaches African-American History and is a high school DEI coordinator, said U-High needs to make sure “it’s not just forgotten in our rush as a community to move on to the next thing.”

“I genuinely feel that most all Lab students want to,” Ms. Owens said. “If we’re going to move forward, move forward in a way that helps this community really heal and grow and so from there, I would probably say then begins the real work — the conversations that educate.”