Below is the letter we will send to Hamden Public Schools Board of Education:
A 10-year old girl was cast as a slave in a school play. Hold the West Woods Elementary principal accountable.
Last week at Hamden, Connecticut’s, West Woods Elementary, in a district where 90% of the teachers are white and 60% of the students are Black, a 10-year old girl was cast as “Enslaved African 2,” and instructed to lie down as if in a slave ship and speak about her pain. We owe it to all young Black girls to demand justice for having to relive racial trauma in school settings.
Principal Daniel M. Levy must be held accountable for creating a scholastic culture that would allow for such heinous instruction to take place. As principal in a school district where more than half of the students are Black, Daniel M. Levy was grossly negligent in ensuring his staff was adequately prepared to instruct during Black History Month.
By demanding the removal of principal Daniel M. Levy we can begin the process of undoing racism within the Hamden public school district and hold those in power accountable for denying Black girls the education they deserve.
Here is the Petition:
Dear Hamden Public Schools Board of Education Members,
Color Of Change, the nation's largest online racial justice organization, is calling on Hamden School Superintendent Jody Goeler and the Hamden Board of Education to remove Daniel M. Levy from his duties as principal of West Woods Elementary. Black History Month is a time of celebration and an educational moment for many students. At no point should a 10-year old girl, or any child, have to recreate the traumatic experience of slavery in school.
This event has illuminated the reality that Hamden schools require deep and intentional work to equip teachers with the training and resources to adequately instruct Black students. It is time for Hamden schools to acknowledge the history of racism in our society and the multi-pronged ways in which it manifests, both explicitly and covertly in academic settings. The equity work required to address the varying ways instruction and curriculum can inflict racial trauma requires strong leadership.
In a district where 90% of the teachers are white and 60% of the students are Black, the Hamden Board of Education must consider the many incidents that have gone unreported and have directly affected the educational journey of Black students. The responsibility of being the final authority over the education of impressionable children should be taken seriously and we trust you will make the correct decision.