Principal Shannon Fierro reached out to the MHS community on Tuesday morning with a message of inclusiveness and support in response to the hateful social media meme.
Dear MHS Community –
I am writing to share with all of you information about two anti-Semetic memes circulated between some MHS students recently and the steps that are being taken to address this. At MHS and in PUSD we work hard to live our values of creating an inclusive community that respects and honors all backgrounds and identities. Part of that work is to speak out in the face of hate, prejudice and bias in all its forms. It is our job to directly address and repair harm when it happens and use it as a teachable moment for students to reflect on how they treat one another, stand up for one another and work to create a caring, compassionate and inclusive school community and world. This is the perspective we have taken when thinking about how to approach and respond to these hateful and harmful memes.
The memes were shared late last week with MHS staff. The sender of the memes was made anonymous but was known to be in the freshman class. MHS staff worked with the reporting family, Jewish parents and leaders in the community and district leaders to put together an appropriate response.
Today, I joined the 7th period World Cultures class and shared with all 9th graders the nature of the memes. I denounced the content of the memes, stressed the seriousness of the issue, and discussed the need for all students to reflect on their values, social media choices and digital footprint.
Mr. Brown then spent the majority of the class period leading a lesson deconstructing the memes from a historical perspective with information on the Holocaust and contemporary instances of anti-Semetism. He led a discussion asking students to reflect on what they think about the memes and the history, in addition to how they feel about them. The class period ended with a student written reflection which will be reviewed by the teacher, counselor and me to inform future work with students.
MHS counselor Stefanie Manalo-LeClair joined the class to provide support and perspective for students on how their choices impact their futures and how she can be a person of support to students on any issue, including bullying, prejudice or targeting of any kind.
We know that hate, prejudice and bias exist in our world and that our students are navigating their understanding of the world, their values and their social relationships. It is our job to promote respect for all people, help foster a prejudice-free school and speak out against prejudice and discrimination. We appreciate your partnership in this work and welcome your feedback, input and collaboration going forward.
Principal, Millennium High School