A photo surfaced on social media that appears to show two Simsbury High School students in blackface, and now leaders are discussing how to address the situation and bring race and diversity into the community conversation.
In a letter to parents, Superintendent of Schools Matt Curtis called the image “offensive and hurtful.”
“Despite ongoing efforts within our schools to enhance educational opportunities for staff and students regarding diversity, there is clearly more work to be done. This recent incident highlights the need to make our learning more widespread and engaging. As a school system, we are committed to embracing this work in a more collaborative and inclusive way,” Curtis wrote.
The letter said that school administrators were working on plans to address the issue in the classroom and also with the Community for Care, a Simsbury interagency that works to address community concerns.
First Selectman Eric Wellman said all the people who live or go to school in Simsbury should feel safe and welcome, and that he planned to speak with the Board of Selectman and other community leaders to discuss ways to start an “ongoing community conversation.
“Talking about race does not always happen organically. That’s why it’s my hope that this sparks conversations all across our town in homes, schools, and houses of worship. This needs to be a teachable moment that goes beyond the specifics of this particular incident; that it is the responsibility of all of us to create a safe, caring, and welcoming place to live, work, learn, and play,” Wellman wrote.
It is unclear if the students will face any disciplinary action.
The NAACP has responded to the controversy with the following letter to Superintendent Curtis: