Message to the Community Anti-Semitic Incident at AHS

March 28, 2017

AUSD Parents, Staff, Students & Community Members,

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of an anti-semitic incident that occurred on the Albany High School campus. The situation, which I describe below, was handled the day that Principal Anderson and his co-administrators were alerted to the incident. Given our recent experiences and our reaffirmed commitment to safe and welcoming campuses, we are providing the details of this situation to you.
On March 8th, AHS administrators were notified that a group of seven 9th graders had been engaging in Nazi salutes to each other when passing in the halls. While administrators were alerted to this behavior on March 8th, upon further investigation, it was determined that these students were making these salutes to each other for several months. The vice principal immediately brought these students into the office, determined what occurred, contacted their parents, and took appropriate action.

We believe it would be helpful for our community to know the process AHS uses when issues of bullying, harassment, racism, anti-semitism, or any other hate motivated speech or acts occur. When a student or group of students is reported to have engaged in these behaviors, administration:
Conducts an investigation to determine the facts. This includes speaking with the students involved (victims, perpetrators)
Notifies the parents of both alleged perpetrators and victims
Determines consequences for the students who engaged in the behavior, including school-related discipline
Puts in place the appropriate counseling or other support services for the students involved

These recent events have underscored our need to work with organizations like SEEDS to implement restorative justice practices, as well as culturally responsive teaching and practices. It is our goal not only to set the tone that any racist, sexist, discriminatory, or hate related speech and behavior will not be tolerated, but that we also create a school community in which all students feel safe, welcome, and respected. This is a community effort, and we are grateful for the outpouring of support and advocacy for our students.

We realize that strong home-school partnerships are based on trust, and that trust is built from honest, forthright communication. Upon reflection, we recognize that this incident should also have been reported to the AHS staff and parent community. In the future, Principal Anderson will make sure that his school community is informed about such serious incidents and the proactive steps that are being taken to reinforce our commitment to a safe learning and teaching environment.

Val Williams, Superintendent

Jeff Anderson, Principal Albany High School
Published Print