Students at the Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City are taking to social media to air their grievances about the school’s alleged racism. The student body is 59 percent Asian but less than 8 percent Black.
According to Brook Baker, she and three students whom she tutors heard horrific stories about students’ experiences and shared some of them on Facebook, thus starting the current chain of events. Baker also said someone used racial slurs toward one of the students.
Many Black students do not feel the staff respects them or their aspirations. Baker said:
“What really broke my heart is when one of the student’s teachers asked her what she wanted to be and she said a doctor and the lady looked at her and laughed,” Baker told NBCBLK. “That’s not acceptable. These are people that are supposed to be uplifting you and they are trying to tear you down.”
The racial divide has gotten so bad at the prestigious high school that the alumni have created a petition that has prompted the New York City Department of Education to intervene. The petition states:
“A search of the trending #blackinbrooklyntech hashtag on Facebook will reveal some of the most utterly disgusting and offensive things that have been said to current students and alums by their peers and in some cases faculty,” the petition reads. “As a proud alum, it would be nice to have other alums and non-alums join in and send a message to the administration that this cannot be tolerated and that these claims have to be looked into.”
Alumni and current students on Twitter took the opportunity to inform the rest of the country about what’s going on at their alma mater:
The principal has been gaslighting the students and keeping alumni at arms length. #BlackInBrooklynTech
— Triniphoenix (@TriniPhoenix124) January 13, 2016
— Triniphoenix (@TriniPhoenix124) January 8, 2016
#blackinbrooklyntech "why are you so offended when i say the n word? oh right, youre from africa"
— y THO (@yunglabeb) January 7, 2016
— Terrell F. Merritt (@terrellfmerritt) January 7, 2016
I stand with #blackinbrooklyntech. Don't let the admin make you feel ashamed b/c they feel ashamed about being called out on their B.S.
— Lex (@nappy_techie) January 13, 2016
#blackinbrooklyntech saddens my heart. Want more Blacks at Tech? Fix the damn middle schools. Tech was 35% Black in my day. What went wrong?
— Yusef Johnson (@coachyusef) January 13, 2016
— Ayyyyyyyy (@QueenCity_226) January 6, 2016
The students appear to be inspired by last year’s Missouri protests and have gone full throttle to make the school more inclusive. Black students have written a letter that lays out all their grievances for the faculty and staff to address:
“Faculty members are complacent in permitting racially insensitive comments in the classroom, and often make offensive comments themselves,” the letter reads. “This causes a very real and rational fear of retaliation amongst students who feel the need to speak out against these issues and so don’t.”
So far the school’s principal, Randy Asher, held an open dialogue with the Black Student Union on Monday to solve the issues. However, students were not optimistic after the discussion. They felt that Asher shifted blame onto faculty and did not provide any valuable solutions to the issues presented.
Now the NYC DOE is stepping in.
“We have zero tolerance for any discrimination. We’ll work to provide open forums for the school community to discuss these important issues and will provide any support that is needed,” DOE Press Secretary Devora Kaye told NBCBLK.
Baker and other alums will continue to bring awareness until the administration has changed policy and fixed the school’s racial problems.