On December 17, Dr. Chirles sent out an email to all high school students regarding an incident with a faculty member, where a cup labeled “Ku Klux Klan Donations” was found in a classroom and used during a class lesson. Along with informing students about this upsetting event that took place at Blind Brook earlier this school year, Dr. Chirles used this disquieting occasion as the impetus to create and present a new initiative for BBHS students, called “No Place for Hate.” Dr. Chirles also wanted to ensure that all students knew that the school’s Administration was aware of this act and that they in no way supported it. As Dr. Chirles explained in her email, she wants to make Blind Brook a “physically and emotionally safe and healthy environment essential for the growth and development of our students and employees.” Dr. Chirles also stated that “appreciating differences fosters a common respect for each other’s humanity.” Especially with the recent events going on in our country, it is essential that we, as a collective, do whatever we can to prevent discrimination and similar actions in our school community.
Dr. Chirles recently established a High School Cultural Awareness Council, with the goal of ensuring that events like this will never happen again in our school and surrounding community, and also so we can promote diversity, equity, and inclusion for all students no matter where they are from or what they identify as. Faculty, students, and parents were invited to join the council, by completing an application that was emailed to all. Dr. Chirles has several visions for this committee, which includes advocacy and educating other students about the dangers of discrimination and what they can do to build the most inclusive environment possible for all students.
To read more on the exact missions and policies Blind Brook High School will follow going forward with this new council, the Anti-Harassment and Dignity for All Students Act is posted on the Blind Brook website, along with the district handbook. You can also read the mission statements of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which discusses the “No Place for Hate” campaign, more details about the movement, and ways you can get involved outside of school. BBHS is now included in the 1,600 schools around the country that have a committee like this established, to further combat actions of hate and discrimination in schools and in the community.
It is of utmost importance that students get involved in this committee so all students can feel comfortable and included at school and that BBHS is a safe environment for them to learn. Dr. Chirles stresses the importance of students reaching out to any faculty member if any actions like the events described above happen again, as well as to feel free to reach out to her directly with any questions about the committee or missions for the new initiative that has recently been established.