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Community Message – Incident

on July 21, 2020

Dear Warwick Valley School Community,

Last evening, students reported a social media post with a student’s image depicting a racial slur written across the student’s forehead. An investigation commenced immediately. I thank the students who continue to speak up when they witness inappropriate acts of racial discrimination. 

The District will NOT tolerate hate speech or unlawful discriminatory behavior. This incident marks the second time this summer that an offensive and inappropriate photographic image, taken years ago, has surfaced. I remind all students that reposting such photos is also a violation of our Code of Conduct. Rather than sharing the images with friends or others on social media, I encourage you to immediately share your concerns with your parents and school principal. I ask parents to please speak with their children about appropriate social media use, their digital footprints, and continue to monitor their children’s use of social media. 

Moreover, these types of allegations and events understandably prompt strong emotions. Although the District strictly and swiftly enforces its Code of Conduct, students’ disciplinary consequences and remediation plans must legally remain confidential.  Please do not misinterpret our silence about a student’s specific disciplinary outcome as inaction. 

As a matter of clarification, being off-campus does not necessarily insulate the student from potential discipline. As explained in the District’s Code of Conduct, student speech may warrant disciplinary action when a nexus exists between the off-campus misconduct and a foreseeable link between such conduct and a substantial disruption of instruction or school activities and programs. 

This summer, school district leadership has engaged in much discussion and training on equity, diversity, and inclusion in the pursuit of solutions. District leadership will share a summary of these efforts and recommendations after completing several strategy sessions later this summer. 

 We will continue to seize teachable moments with our students. Together, as a school district and community, we will continue to take the actions needed for a better tomorrow. 

 Sincerely,
David Leach

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