OpEd: Leadership of HS1327 Addresses the Name Change

Dear H.S. 1327/Drake

We the students of Associate Student Body, Peer Resource, AVID, and Students Taking Action for Anti-Racism at H.S. 1327/Drake, would like to address the current name change.

As representatives of our school’s student body, we recognize a common trend among our peers: many students would simply like to have a name for their school. Throughout the ongoing process of this name change there have been students and community members who have been personally hurt. Although student leadership values every honest opinion at our school, we want to foster a safe place for student voices to be heard, and personal attacks have no place in the conversation surrounding the name of our school.

We would also like to remind our community that a difference in perspective is something that should be celebrated and supported. Different points of view are important during this process. They allow for H.S. 1327/Drake to learn as much as possible in order to make the best decision for not only our students and staff but our community. You don’t have to agree with someone in order to acknowledge their point of view in a respectful manner. This applies to everyone regardless of their viewpoint on the name change.

However, there is a difference between having differing opinions and differing morals. We see the way the community has failed to maintain respectful conversations on social media. Student leadership would like to compliment the students of H.S. 1327/Drake who have been doing their part to practice engaging in respectful dialogue. We feel that it is now the responsibility of adults and other members of the H.S. 1327/Drake community to do the same. It can be disheartening to see grown adults clashing over an issue while the students have come to a mutual agreement to remain collected and open minded. We encourage the community to follow the example of students. In order to defeat the systemic and blatant racism in our school and community, we must be able to handle a name change gracefully.

As a leadership team, we urge the community to choose not to argue, but instead to discuss. Even after the selection of the proposed new name is made, there is no “finish line.” This process is about growing and changing to become a more equitable and inclusive community. We can only grow our understanding of the systemic racism that is part of the United States and agree as a school to hold accountability for our past actions as well as our actions moving forward. At the end of the day, not everyone will be happy with the decisions that are made. In the future, we hope that our community can be more civil when holding conversations about the name change. We want to provide a safe environment where all opinions are supported.

It is crucial that at this point in the process of the school’s name change, students report any harassment they receive from peers or other members of the community. Your experiences will be taken seriously by H.S. 1327/Drake leadership and the administration. We want to make it abundantly clear that we acknowledge and respect that everyone has a right to voice their opinion, but we do not condone or tolerate disrespectful nor hateful behavior and symbolism. We honor and respect those of you that have had the courage to stand up against harassment and will continue to work to make our school a safe place for respectful discussion.

Sincerely,
H.S. 1327/Drake Student Leadership (STAAR, PR, ASB and AVID)

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