Hunterdon Central High School’s new Racism, Equity, and Diversity Committee came under fire at the March 15th School Board meeting when teachers and concerned members of the community came together to speak out against staff trainings that they saw as a “…form of harassment, intimidation and bullying of Caucasian faculty by being forced into the anti-racism and awareness training.”
One employee described her experience as such:
I enjoy my job at Hunterdon Central, and, until March 10, I felt I worked with a great organization. That changed very quickly when my co-workers and I sat and listened to the presentation in the auditorium. On Nov. 16, 2020, this board unanimously approved a change to the district’s discipline policy that takes a no-tolerance stance against bias incidents. The district envisioned training designed to increase staff literacy in bias and prejudice; to better equip our school counselors and other specialists to assist students who have experienced race-based traumatic stress; to help club advisors and coaches ensure a safe place; and to provide a sense of community and as an opportunity to share experiences and make positive changes. Well that all sounds wonderful however that is not what I saw and heard during a presentation in the auditorium that my coworkers and I were mandated to sit and listen to.
She continued on to say:
I am highly offended that my employer can create and justify an environment in which I felt silenced and attacked. You’ve taken my joy, you added to my stress and now my work environment suddenly feels hostile. History is written. We can’t erase it and we can’t change it. We can learn from it, we can move forward with the promise to never repeat the injustices of our past. I will not listen to another presentation designed around fear and the platform of white privilege and white supremacy. It is harmful, not progressive, and it’s hateful and filled with presumption.
Other speakers, both staff and students, spoke up in favor of the anti-bias and anti-racism staff trainings.
The meeting also revealed that the school was working with “outside consultants to further improve Central’s bias incident reporting and intervention efforts.”