Webster CSD investigating picture circulating on social media of students who appear to be in blackface

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – There’s a picture circulating online of students who appear to be in blackface at the Webster Thomas homecoming football game. News10NBC requested a response from Webster Central School District about the incident, and they forwarded us the letter below, that was sent to Webster CSD staff and families on Saturday.

Dear One Webster Families,

An incident at a Webster Thomas High School Homecoming football game last week has been brought to our attention. Webster CSD is gathering information, and invites concerned citizens to contact us with any factual insights to aid in this process. A picture of three students, allegedly in blackface and wearing Webster sports gear, is circulating on social media. While we are still investigating this incident, the existence of such a photo and the racially insensitive act depicted is upsetting to us, and understandably upsetting to many in our community. The matter is serious enough that we wanted to bring it to the attention of our entire community. 

Racial insensitivity, or any other form of hate, is unacceptable. Webster CSD rejects hate and intentional harm in all of its forms, and remains committed to working as a community in opposition to it.

We should be able to assume that in 2022, common knowledge would have us all understand the harmful history of blackface and its impact on the African American community, and the broader community by extension. However, as a district community that is committed to restorative practices, we are seeking to promote both individual accountability for the young people behind this act, and shared accountability for us all, as a community, to restoratively address racism and racial insensitivity.

As parents, please continue to engage with your children about the inappropriateness of words and actions that are harmful to others, particularly those targeting others based on their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, etc. As a district, we will continue to do our part to sensitize the community and build restorative practices skills community-wide to address matters when they arise, repair harm when it occurs, and restore relationships when they have been broken. Webster Thomas and Webster Schroeder High Schools’ counseling staff will be available on Monday for students and staff who are struggling with the harm this incident has caused in our community, and those who would like to be part of repairing that harm. 

Building a more just and harmonious world for future generations is a community-wide effort. Thank you for partnering with us in that work.