The Blaine County School District is seeking more information on reports of “ongoing” racist incidents at Wood River Middle School and Wood River High School.
The allegations, which district officials would not elaborate on, prompted more than two dozen community members to write letters to the school board prior to its December meeting last week. Those letters outlined accusations of discrimination against Black and Latino students at the two schools.
“As a community member I believe that all students have the right to [a] safe and supporting learning environment in our schools,” Chairman Keith Roark said, quoting from one such letter. “Discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated. I am aware that there are ongoing racist and harmful incidents occurring at our schools, and that racist actions towards Black and brown students are sometimes unaddressed by Blaine County school staff—this is referring specifically to Wood River Middle School and Wood River High.”
The board stated that these actions are taken seriously by the district. During the Dec. 13 meeting, Roark said that the board must get the facts straight to avoid jumping to speculative conclusions.
“Some of the concerns here are very legitimate,” Roark said. “The are concerns that all of us share. There has been some misinformation that has been circulated. I don’t know where it originated, but I think it’s important for us to take this up and have a full report, so we know what the facts really are in these two schools.”
Roark assured the board that steps are being taken to address these incidents and thanked the public for their organized letter campaign to the board.
“Steps were already being taken prior to receiving these letters that occurred in a period of about 48 hours last week,” Roark said. “I’m encouraged that we have so many people who are concerned about these kinds of issues, but I do believe it’s critically important to separate fact from assumption or speculation, and it’s also important to provide the public of overview the plans that the board has to address these issues.”
According to the board, Assistant Superintendent Adam Johnson has a close relationship with Wassmuth Center for Human Rights in Boise and arrangements are being made with the center to investigate the issue. The board plans to take up the subject again once the matter is investigated.
“I just want the public to know that these matters are not going unaddressed,” Roark said. “We want to act on what we know and can establish as fact, but we are committed to the principle that all students have the right to a safe and supporting learning environment.”
According to Roark, Principal Rob Ditch at Wood River Middle School held listening sessions for families to share their concerns and eventually plans to hold a permanent group that can provide feedback to staff and families.
The board says they will reconvene in January to address the incidents and say that will provide ample time for the investigation to reveal the facts. The board plans to give a full incident report at the next board meeting slated for next month. ￼
Post a comment as anonymous
Watch this discussion.
Article mentioned misinformation. How about no information in this article.
RACIAL INCIDENTS HAVE BEEN HAPPENING AT THE MIDDLE SCHOOL SINCE PETERS WAS PRINCPLE. HE USED TO TELL HISPANIC KIDS THEY WOULD NEVER BE ANYTHING MORE THEN CRIMNALS, HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS SOUNDS LIKE NOT MUCH HAS CHANGED
Welcome to the discussion.