WATERTOWN, NY — Watertown City School District Superintendent Patricia LaBarr released the following statement on Wednesday, April 6, 2022:
“Recently, Watertown City School District has had several incidents of students using racially charged and derogatory language toward other students. The district has a zero tolerance policy for all language that is deemed to be negative in nature, whether it be focused on race, religion or religious practice, mental or physical disability, gender (including biological sex and gender identity), sexual orientation, national origin, weight, or other prohibited grounds. This type of language is both unkind and unprofessional and not tolerated in our school community.
Many of our students are exposed to such language outside of the school doors, and it requires a community effort to address the divisiveness that exists in society. Social media is a large contributor to students’ exposure to this type of language, and we collectively need to closely monitor the content and presentation of what students are engaging with on social media. This requires a community effort so that our students are continually exposed to appropriate and kind language instead of those words that are hurtful and are intended to be derogatory toward a person or group of people.
The district addresses each incident of derogatory language use when it is made aware of such usage. While specific student discipline cannot be discussed, we reiterate the zero tolerance policy for this language. The district’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, and Belonging committee is also committed to addressing this from a preventive approach, and is actively working on educating staff, students, and families about the negative impact this has on our school community when language like this is used by our students.”