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Superintendent urges community to monitor social media content following racist incidents in Watertown School District | Education


WATERTOWN — The Watertown City School District is reporting several recent incidents of students using racist and derogatory language toward other students, according to a message sent Wednesday morning by Superintendent Patricia B. LaBarr.

“Many of our students are exposed to such language outside the school gates, and this requires a community effort to address the division that exists in society,” she said. “Social media is a big contributor to students’ exposure to this type of language, and we collectively need to closely monitor the content and presentation of what students engage with on social media. This requires a community effort so that our students are continually exposed to appropriate and kind language instead of those hurtful words meant to be derogatory to a person or group of people.

The message says the district addresses every use of derogatory language when made aware of such incidents, and has a zero-tolerance policy for any language deemed negative in nature, whether focused on race, religion or religion. practice, mental or physical disability, sex — including biological sex and gender identity — sexual orientation, national origin, weight or other prohibited grounds.

The post said the district’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee is also addressing this issue in a preventative approach and is actively working to educate staff, students and families about the impact negative impact on the school community when language such as this is used by students. .

Although the specific student discipline and incidents that triggered the message were not discussed, Superintendent LaBarr reiterated the district’s zero-tolerance policy for this language.

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