New school year means new approach to culture acceptance at Easthampton H.S.

The school said they are still healing the racially charged incidents

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A new school year with new regulations aimed at creating a culture of acceptance.

Changes at Easthampton High School include anti-bias training for students, staff and parents and an update of the school policies and procedures.

Easthampton said they are still healing from the racially charged incidents that sparked months of division and community outrage.

In March, three minority students reportedly attacked a white student here in the parking lot of Easthampton High School after the victim allegedly posted a racial slur online.

Weeks later, a student wore a shirt of the confederate flag. It led to a school walk out, criticism of school officials and eventually, a state investigation by the Attorney’s Generals office that revealed, “Serious bias related problems.”

“This is an incredibly white community but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have students and families of color and they need support in this time because there is a lot of racism and white supremacy starting to crop up here and it’s out duty as educators. We are in charge of these kids,” said Emily Waid-Jones, who is an employee at Hilltown Charter School in Easthampton.

Our calls to Superintendent Nancy Follansbee went unanswered and we we’re turned away at her offices. 22News talk to one parent who’s son was on the cheerleading team. She said he was attacked in a similar incident.

“He had a concussion, broken nose, two black eyes and the school told him that they would take care of it. And he was not very happy a long while later when he realized that they had never gone through with that,” explained Laurie Blair of Easthampton.

The superintendent’s 10-point plan for change also includes an annual audit of school discipline records and a survey about the school environment.