Chappaqua students urge school district to improve diversity

The group of students and some parents raised their concerns at the district's last Board of Education meeting after learning the Director of Equity, Inclusion & Wellness was leaving his position last month.

Jonathan Gordon

Dec 7, 2022, 3:29 AM

Updated 535 days ago

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The Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Student Union at Horace Greeley High School is calling on the Chappaqua Central School District to improve its diversity to better support students of color in the predominantly white district.

"It's really hard to go to school, especially when you are not reflected in the staff, in the district and by your peers," said Ava, a Horace Greeley High School sophomore.
The group of students and some parents raised their concerns at the district's last Board of Education meeting after learning the director of Equity, Inclusion & Wellness was leaving his position last month.
Students say they want the now-vacant position filled immediately and with a person of color. They also want the district to expand the role of that office and hire a more diverse staff.
"We want to ensure that the culture changes for future kids," said Horace Greeley High School senior, Joyce.
The district first established the diversity position two years ago after a social media post went viral showing white Chappaqua students using racial slurs in the cafeteria.
Three-quarters of the district is white, 6% are Hispanic and just 1% are Black, according to the latest data from the state Education Department.
"Adults struggle with issues regarding race. Point blank," said Mariam, a Horace Greeley High School senior.
Students of color say they face additional challenges because of the lack of representation in the district.
"We also have to worry about letting people know what we go through every single day," said Joyce.
Chappaqua Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christine Ackerman acknowledged the students' concerns and said they are committed to improving the diversity in the district and making sure all students feel safe and respected.
"We have shared goals it's just I feel like based on where we are right now we need more time to be thoughtful about how to structure that position," said Dr. Ackerman.
Some students shared mixed feelings about the response from the district. On one hand, they are thankful the district intends to fill the position but they also feel a lack of urgency.
The district hasn't given a timeline for when the position could be filled but indicated its Dec. 14 Board Meeting would focus on this dialogue.
The BIPOC Student Union has circulated an online petition with more than six hundred signatures backing their cause. A show of support it plans to present next week to the district.



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