Massachusetts

Officials Investigate After Reports of Discrimination at Danvers High School

School officials in Danvers, Massachusetts, did not reveal specifics of the investigation, but alluded to discriminatory behavior, while students say some classmates have routinely used racist language

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An investigation has been taking place at Danvers High School in Massachusetts, where students say some of their classmates have displayed a pattern of racist language.

The district is not revealing specifics, but it sent a letter to the school community shedding some light on the circumstances.

"A number of current and former students of Danvers High School have reached out to us recently to report communications among certain students that were contrary to our mission to provide an inclusive school environment free from discrimination," wrote Lisa Dana, the district's superintendent.

"Within the last couple of months, some issues have been shed to light," said senior Maximilian Leete. "We have seen a pattern of behavior from a certain group of kids at our school."

Leete says part of the investigation has focused on racial slurs, and he asked school leaders to take action.

"I genuinely think that this is an opportunity for growth," said Leete. "I think that people can learn and I really think that we can use this opportunity to make our school better."

The district says almost two dozen witnesses were interviewed, and several pieces of documentation were reviewed.

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The investigation has concluded and there have been consequences, according to the letter sent to the school community. But school officials won't reveal the specific allegations, how many students were involved and what kind of disciplinary action has been taken.

"In most cases we are not authorized to punish private, out-of-school speech, even speech that is odious, abhorrent and contrary to our core values," Dana wrote.

The superintendent added that the district has since received even more information that warrants yet another look.

"I'd hear the N-word in the hallway," said Payton James, who graduated in 2019 and says she's not surprised by the recent allegations. "I want the students to be held accountable."

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