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Monday, March 18, 2019

Demands Met After NYC Students Locked Staff Out of School to Protest About Racism on Campus

Black students from Ethical Culture Fieldston School

Students from Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx, NYC

New York, NY — A group of students at an elite private school in the Bronx who staged a lock-in that lasted several days have effectively made their demands heard regarding a “culture of bias” in the school. The protests came after a video of white students calling Black people “crack n****r” recently surfaced online.

Last Monday, a coalition of students called Students of Color Matter barricaded themselves in the building of Ethical Culture Fieldston School preventing staff and administrators from entering.

“We have students sitting in front and standing in front of the doors, preventing administrators and other students from coming into the building,” Isabella Ali, a 17-year old senior who served as one of the organizers of the protest, told CBS News.

Outrage stemmed out of a viral video shot a couple of years ago that emerged just recently. Students say there were no appropriate disciplinary actions given to the students who used racial slurs in the video and other incidents as well.

“Incidents and incidents like those aren’t isolated incidents. They’re kind of bigger, more systemic issues with racism in this institution,” Ali said.

Students who were protesting made a list of 20 demands to the administration, including bias training, better recruitment and retention of students and faculty of color, and implementation of a Black studies course. They posted the list of demands on the campus building and online.

The lock-in lasted until Thursday when the administrators agreed to their demands. Moreover, school administration said that one of the students in the video withdrew from the school, three were suspended, and the other one did not face any consequences.

“The current situation arises out of multi-year-racial trauma our students have experienced while at school,” Head of School Jessica Bagby wrote in an email to protesters. “My colleagues and I could not be more profoundly sorry for this reality.”

Watch the local news coverage below:

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