Easthampton School Committee address complaints after alleged hate incidents

Racial slurs, physical violence, display of Confederate flag have created concern

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Dozens of people attended the Easthampton School Committee meeting Tuesday night to hear how the committee plans to address allegations of racial slurs, physical violence, and other issues at the high school.

A detailed list of allegations was given to the school, city officials, and police last week, which spoke about incidents including a student holding a Confederate flag and yelling “white power” and swastikas.

Community members said they were looking for more communication. “Get more information out to people because this is the whole thing, you hear things on the internet and Facebook, and so you don’t really know the whole facts. So I’m hoping just by dialogue that more things will happen for the good,” said Annette Szczygiel of Easthampton.

The Collaborative for Educational Services will hold focus groups to hear from parents, students and staff at Easthampton High School to determine what problems may exist.

Superintendent of Schools Nancy Follansbee told 22News, “We’re starting with the high school because that’s where our issue began; and then after we’ve developed a plan with the high school, we plan to make it systemic, to spread it to all of the schools in our district.”

The focus groups will be voluntary. Students will participate in the first one on Thursday, April 27th.