Students protest after Forest Hills School Board blocks annual Diversity Day
The event has been held every year since at least 2017.
ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WXIX) - Parents and students demonstrated Monday evening outside the Forest Hills Board of Education building in protest of the board’s decision Sunday to indefinitely postpone Turpin High School’s Diversity Day.
Racial Diversity Awareness Day, which has been held on a voluntary basis every year since at least 2017, was originally scheduled for March 31, 2022.
A message from Superintendent Scot Prebles went out the day beforehand saying the event had been postponed for further “parent review.”
The school board announced last week the event would be held on May 18 instead. But the board voted at a special meeting on Sunday to postpone the event again without rescheduling it.
The motion, according to our media partners at the Enquirer, says the event “shall not proceed during school hours” and “shall not be conducted or further organized during school hours or through the use of school or taxpayer resources.”
Students like Colin Owens want to see the event continue.
“I think that they are just trying to appeal to the parents and other community members who elected them,” he said Monday. “I don’t think this decision was made with regard to what the students want.”
Racial Diversity Awareness Day at Turpin traditionally includes a series of activities, discussions, video clips and breakout sessions with guest speakers that focus on history, the criminal justice system and empathy, according to the event’s permission slip.
This year the event was scheduled to included guest speakers from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Back2Back Ministries Cincinnati and Cincinnati’s Citizen Complaint Authority.
The event schedule includes participation segments such as one entitled Step to the Line that asks students anonymously to answer questions such as:
- Have you ever been embarrassed or ashamed of your clothes, your house, or your family when growing up?
- Was your grade school made up of people you felt were like yourself?
- When you go to the doctor, is the doctor the same race as you?
- Have you ever felt uncomfortable or angry about a remark or joke because of your race, ethnicity, age or class?
“To me, I don’t understand how this is the business of students, staff or leaders in this exercise,” board member Sara Jonas said Sunday. “How is this not political and indoctrination to the students?”
Some parents reportedly complained about taxpayer dollars supporting curricula related to critical race theory. Four of the newly elected members of the Forest Hills School Board ran on platforms opposing CRT last November.
One board member suggested having the event after school or over a weekend. Prebles noted the calendar made things difficult, it currently being the end of the school year.
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