Students at a private school in Washington, D.C., could face expulsion for “misplaced humor,” according to the school’s draft “anti-bias” policy obtained by The Washington Free Beacon.
St. Albans, an all-boys school in Washington D.C., is considering adopting a policy that the “impact of hate speech, rather than the intent of those perpetrating it, that is of utmost importance,” the draft policy states, The Washington Free Beacon reported. Students could be expelled “even in the case of a single expression, act, or gesture,” which includes “misplaced humor,” that “should be reported immediately to the student’s adviser.”
The policy also outlines the expectation that students, teachers or parents who witness or have knowledge of “an incident of hate speech, will report the incident to the appropriate individual,” and it encourages such reporting because nobody will be punished for “a good faith report,” according to the policy, the Free Beacon reported. It isn’t clear if the policy is still under consideration or has gone into effect.
In July 2020, St. Albans released an update on its “ongoing work” to put the school “on a path towards greater justice, equity, and inclusion: to become more fully a sacred space dedicated to the dignity and humanity of every person as a child of God,” as a “response to the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and the nation’s continued reckoning with racial injustice.” In the update, the school said that it would develop a new policy that “specifically addresses racial hate speech and misconduct” to establish “the process we will use for investigating and eradicating such behavior from our community.”
“St. Albans used to have a simple honor code: Don’t lie, cheat, or steal,” an alumnus of the school told the Free Beacon. “Everything else was adjudicated human-to-human. Now boys are being policed for humor and innocuous comments are subject to the highest form of punishment.”
The school’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Team consists of 21 teachers and staff to implement DEI initiatives throughout the school, including a DEI training on “How To Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi and a discussion on “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates for all faculty and staff, according to its website. The school’s resource list also includes “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction” by Richard Delgado, Jean Stefancic and Angela harris and “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People To Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo.
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