Hidden River Middle School (Monroe School District)

Hidden River Middle School (Monroe School District)

Monroe school employee on leave for ‘racially insensitive language’

The incident took place at Hidden River Middle School. Also, police were investigating racist vandalism found at another school.

MONROE — Racist incidents have been reported at two Monroe schools this week, according to the school district.

At Hidden River Middle School, “inappropriate and racially insensitive language” on a school bus led to a staff member being put on administrative leave, the school’s principal and the district’s acting superintendent wrote to families.

Principal Jonathan Judy and Acting Superintendent Kim Whitworth wrote that “whenever possible, we attempt to facilitate a response process that promotes restoration and healing for those who have been impacted by an event or interaction.”

And at Park Place Middle School, reports of racist vandalism in school bathrooms have increased, the school’s principal also wrote to families. This has included racist symbols and language scrawled on bathroom stalls, including swastikas and KKK. The principal, Kristie Hilson, wrote that school officials have increased supervision of the bathrooms and “are closely monitoring students’ restroom use.” Those responsible hadn’t been identified Wednesday.

“Vandalism, racism, and acts of hate are unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the Monroe School District from any student, staff member, family, or community member,” Hilson wrote. “Vandalism, especially when related to hate speech, to any school property is illegal and has serious consequences, including potential suspension, fines and even criminal charges.”

The Monroe Police Department was investigating the alleged vandalism, Deputy Chief Ryan Irving told The Daily Herald.

Concerns around racism in Monroe schools have been ongoing for months, since a racist incident at the high school in November led to felony hate crime charges against a parent. The superintendent’s response to that incident and other reports led to an external investigation and calls for his resignation. At Park Place, one Black student, 11, stayed out of school because of racist and homophobic slurs directed at him.

This month, the school board received the final report into concerns over Dr. Justin Blasko’s leadership of the district. No action has been taken as to his future with the district.

Members of the district community can anonymously report concerns online. Administrators are automatically notified when reports come in.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

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