Watertown City School District: Agreement reached with NYS Attorney General’s Office over “slave auction”

PRESS RELEASE FOR WATERTOWN CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

WATERTOWN, NY  — The Board of Education of the Watertown City School District wishes to announce that it has reached an agreement with the New York State Attorney General’s Office in regard to issues surrounding the unfortunate circumstance of a “slave auction” having been held in a fourth grade classroom at the District in May of 2019. The attached agreement between the Watertown City School District and the New York State Attorney General’s Office resolves the complaints concerning this matter.

We are heartened to announce that the New York State Attorney General’s Office has approved many of the steps that the school district has already taken on its own initiative, many of which were already in place before the incident occurred.  In particular, the District has taken appropriate measures with respect to the former teacher, has interviewed all parents and various students affected by the incident, and has implemented additional training for students and staff.  The District and the New York State Attorney General’s Office have mutually agreed  to designate a chief diversity officer and a diversity consultant. Those are outlined in the attached document.

The District had, prior to this incident, established an anti-harassment discrimination policy and program. The District has also expanded various programs for behavioral support and has established rewarding positive behavior programs, to include Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports and the Positivity Project.

We look forward to our continued work in fostering an atmosphere of inclusion and the support of diversity within the Watertown City School District.