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‘Blacks only,’ ‘whites only’ signs posted on Colerain HS water fountains, parents say

The district is punishing those who posted the signs—and anyone found sharing them on social media.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 9:53 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Signs appeared on the water fountains at Colerain High School recently appearing to segregate the water fountains along racial lines, according to parents of students at the school.

School officials confirm the signs were posted May 5. A letter to parents from Colerain High School Principal Erin Davis is included in full at the end of this story.

“These water fountains were labeled ‘blacks only,’ ‘whites only,’ which pushed us back so many generations,” said one parent who preferred to remain anonymous. “My heart dropped. My heart dropped. I could not believe it. It was so offensive.”

A Northwest Local School District spokesperson called the incident “unacceptable on all levels” and a deviation from the district’s “culture of inclusivity, respect, kindness and compassion for everyone.”

“Upon investigation of the matter, we have learned that the notes posted over the water fountains were posted for a matter of 30 seconds and were never seen by other students or staff members,” the spokesperson said. “The three students involved in the incident posted the signs, took photos and removed the notes before posting the photos online.”

The spokesperson claims the students involved have been issued “significant” disciplinary actions.

“It’s a hate crime,” remarked another parent who also preferred to remain anonymous. “It’s racism swept under the rug.”

The two parents, both mothers of students in the district, are coming forward now because they say racial issues like this need to be met head-on. At the same time, they both express fear of retaliation.

“I am doing this anonymously,” the second parent said, “because I do not want my daughter to be targeted by faculty, other peers, that are against us speaking out.”

The parents take issue with the part of Davis’ letter that says even students who share the post online will be subject to disciplinary action.

“Those kids were hurt, and those kids wanted to know they were hurt, but the school tried to silence them,” said the first parent.

The parents say in order for students to process information like this, they need to be able to talk about it openly without the chilling threat of censure from above.

“I’m a product of Colerain High School, Colerain Northwest Local, and when I was in school there... oh my God... there was the ‘n’ word on the wall and in the bathroom and all kinds of stuff,” the first parent said. “And back then, nothing happened. We just had to take it, suck it up and move on.”

The second parent offered, “Let’s make a change. Let’s speak on this stuff. Let’s stop hiding it.”

CHS Families,

Earlier today, Colerain High School (CHS) Administration was made aware of an inappropriate and racist message that was displayed at CHS. The administration is taking this incident very seriously, as matters of racial insensitivity are not condoned or tolerated. We are currently in the process of investigating this matter. At this time, we have identified two students who were involved. Additionally, we have been made aware that the posting has been shared on social media. Any student, including those who are found to have taken part in sharing the post online will also be subject to disciplinary action.

The actions that were displayed do not reflect the values and culture of Colerain High School or the Northwest Local School District. CHS stands firm on creating a culture of inclusivity, respect, kindness and compassion. As a school community it is our responsibility to make sure that our CHS family uphold and live out these values. We will not stand for intolerance of any kind and will discipline any student who participates in displaying intolerant behavior.

Erin Davis

Principal

Colerain High School

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