TheBlaze

Public high school meeting on ‘police brutality’ lists separate Zoom links — one ‘for Parents of Color’ and the other ‘for White Parents’

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A public high school in Madison, Wisconsin, posted a notice “to parents of students of color only” announcing a Thursday Zoom meeting to discuss “police brutality” and related topics such as the “verdict of Derek Chauvin and the murder of another young Black female” — the latter presumably referring to the
knife-wielding teen girl fatally shot by police in Columbus, Ohio, this week.

Thing is, the
West High School notice about the meeting listed two Zoom links for accessing it: One “for Parents of Color” and another “for White Parents.”

Image source: West High School website screenshot

TheBlaze on Friday afternoon located the meeting notice by starting at the high school’s
main site, then navigating to the “for families” section, then choosing the “communication headquarters” link, which displays a list of events.

An event titled “Affinity Space for Parents of Students of Color” addressed “to parents of students of color only” was listed Wednesday. On Thursday an updated Zoom link for the same event was listed:

Image source: West High School website screenshot

Clicking on the above line items displays the meeting description, which includes the Zoom links for “Parents of Color” and “White Parents.”

How is the meeting described?

The meeting description addressed to “West Families” reads as follows:

Looking back on all the police brutality and violence that is going on in our country and or communities and even after the verdict of Derek Chauvin and the murder of another young Black female, it is very necessary to have space for our families to discuss and process. The most important thing we can do for our students and their families is to continue our work to build strong, trusting relationships as we engage them through virtual and face-to-face learning. Only after we establish these strong connections can we expect students and families to openly share and dialog around such complex issues. We want to work together to help our students and families feel safe, discuss challenging issues productively, and think about how they can make positive changes in our community. Please join us tomorrow (Thursday, April 22nd) at 4:30pm to have these difficult but necessary conversations.

The Zoom links for “Parents of Color” and “White Parents” are listed below the meeting description.

Image source: West High School website screenshot

What did the school district have to say?

The Madison Metropolitan School District on Friday didn’t immediately respond to TheBlaze’s request for comment, which inquired why there was a Zoom link “for Parents of Color” and a separate Zoom link “for White Parents.” TheBlaze also asked who authorized the notice and requested reasoning behind the decision to divide the meeting according to race.

How did folks react to the notice?

Wisconsin talk-show host Vicki McKenna posted an image of the notice on
Twitter, and as you might guess, reaction to it was pointed:

  • “How racist!! They keep it separate and all about color,” one commenter wrote.
  • “Was Brown vs. Board of Education overturned[?]” another user quipped. “I must have missed it.”
  • “I’m mostly white, and my wife is not white, so which link do we click on?” another commenter wondered.
  • “When do they start using the ‘Colored Only’ signs?” another user asked.
  • “What is scary is people think this is OK,” another commenter observed. “Soon we will have separate bathrooms, seats on trains and planes, restaurant seating times and more. MLK fought to end this … Racism was on life support until the @DNC brought it back full swing.”

Anything else?

The high school on Wednesday posted a
response to the “George Floyd Murder Verdict,” calling the decision to find former Minneapolis police officer Chauvin guilty on all counts “monumental as it represents a shift in how our judicial system responds to acts of violence by police towards people of color.”

“We know we can only truly become the antiracist school we aspire to be when we are in partnership with you, our families,” the note concluded. “At West, we are grounded in our equity vision for all students: West is committed to being an intentionally anti-racist school community, and we will be inclusive and student centered, uplifting and valuing the diverse identities of all students and families.”

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