A Black teacher at a Wellesley, Massachusetts high school was the target of a racist email sent anonymously and the school is now investigating.
In a letter sent to families of Wellesley High School students March 1, Principal Jamie Chisum said the email included “racist tones, language and repulsive terms that were highly insulting.” Regarding the teacher’s response, Chisum said, “the teacher was shocked and hurt by the contents of the email.” The teacher then shared the racist message with the department head, who brought it to the principal’s attention, according to Wicked Local.
Also on Friday, Chisum visited two of the teacher’s classes to tell students about what occurred, the outlet reported. He also said the email violated the school’s core values (Commitment to Community, Cooperative and Caring Relationships, and Respect for Human Differences).
The incident, which occurred last week, has led some students to speculate that it was a member of the student body who sent it. Currently, Wellesley Public Schools District is working with the technology department and the Wellesley Police Department to attempt to identify who is responsible for the email, NBC 10 reported.
Superintendent David Lussier said in a statement obtained the news station that he doesn’t feel what occurred represents the entire community but acknowledged other incidents have happened in recent years. As such, he said, “we cannot treat this as an isolated occurrence.”
In a 2016 instance, The Boston Globe reported police investigated a series of Facebook messages where students at Wellesley used racial homophobic slurs and made jokes about lynching and genocide.
“You [expletive] hate [N-words], right?” an all caps message obtained by The Globe read. “Cause idk bout you but I’m trying to genocide their ass.”
Regarding the newest event, Lussier wrote in a bulletin March 8 noting a school committee meeting had been held where families described several instances where students and parents have encountered micro-aggressions and felt unwelcome in the district.
“In particular, I was struck by an oft-repeated observation that our curricula need to focus more on issues of race, and that even our school hallways and classroom spaces must have more visible evidence of the diversity of our students,” he said.
He concluded by saying that he felt “disheartened by recent events, but I also embrace the challenge before us because I know collectively we can make a difference. I hope you feel the same.”