Hundreds of students at an elite high school in New York City unified after two teens gave their black classmate a tampon scrawled with, “N***** don’t have rights.”
According to the New York Daily News, two students at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, who are white and Middle Eastern, wrote “N***** don’t have rights” on a tampon and gave it to a black 9th-grade girl. The victim reportedly handed it back and told her friends, who reported it to administrators. The two girls were suspended.
A senior student, who said she witnessed the girls passing the tampon, told ABC 7, “It was blatant racism, pure straight racism. I told the principal all of this.” The student said the message was written on a note inside the tampon’s applicator, then thrown away so the two girls could “get rid of the evidence.”
On Monday, classes were canceled and principal Dimitri Saliani scheduled community discussions. Students at the reportedly largely white school organized a sit-in on Tuesday.
According to the New York Department of Education (DOE), 80 kids sat on a hallway floor until 3:15 p.m. In addition, 100 students and administrators sat for a two-and-a-half-hour meeting co-organized by the community group, Project Reach. (A spokesperson was not immediately available for comment when reached by Yahoo Lifestyle.)
“Racism and bullying have no place in our schools, and the school investigated this serious incident,” DOE spokesperson Miranda Bardot, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Principal Saliani scheduled a meeting to allow students, staff and families to discuss this deeply troubling incident and how the school community can move forward, which will include implicit bias training for all staff and workshops for students in each grade. Eleanor Roosevelt High School is committed to safety and inclusiveness, and will continue to take time for these conversations.”
A sophomore student at Eleanor Roosevelt told the Daily News, “Stuff like this, it happens almost on a daily basis and it goes unheard. It’s not just in this school, it’s in every public school in America. It takes for someone to be hurt so badly for action to be taken.”
A 15-year-old student told the outlet: “As one of the small minorities in this school, I feel really bad and disappointed. But I’m also not surprised because in our school there are also many kids who like, they don’t speak about it, but they have racist views.”
Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach an Eleanor Roosevelt High School student for comment. And Saliani did not return an interview request.
Democratic House member Carolyn B. Majoney tweeted on Tuesday: “What happened at Eleanor Roosevelt High School was deeply upsetting. Racist attacks have no place in our community, especially at a school. My heart and support goes out to the affected student. I’ll be keeping an eye on how the situation develops.”
According to the New York Daily News, the New York City Public School System is one of the most segregated in the country.