School officials are working this week to create a cultural sensitivity program in the wake of a Tweet during school hours last week that was offensive to illegal immigrants.
“A student made a disparaging comment on social media about illegal immigrants and the student was on a field trip when it happened,” said Supt. Dianne Kelly. “There are a number of kids at the high school whose parents are illegal immigrants and were offended. The high school has been working with the students and working with teachers and working with them to develop a cultural sensitivity program that will be required of all freshman during their advisory period.”
The situation started after the Revere City Election last Tuesday, when on the next day a civics teacher sent out a Tweet to students about how low voter turnout had been. The Tweet was meant to challenge the students about what low voter turnout means and perhaps why it happened in Revere. The official turnout for the Revere election was approximately 40 percent.
In response to the Tweet, the student responded back that it was because much of Revere’s population is illegal immigrants who cannot vote.
Kelly said the Tweet was deemed offensive and measures have been taken, though she said the student didn’t intend any malicious harm.
“The comment wasn’t meant to disparage and we sincerely believe that when the student told us,” said Kelly, “but it highlights the fact that we don’t really consider our words. It’s especially true now because in the past if we said something stupid, only one person heard us. Now, it’s out in cyberspace and it lasts forever and there is a gravity and there are repercussions to that.”
Kelly said that part of the solution is to develop the new curriculum for freshmen, and the other part was to hold the student accountable for his or her actions.
She said she couldn’t discuss individual student discipline, but said it was a fair punishment.
“The solution focuses on how we understand each other and that our words have weight,” she said. “You might think your words are innocent, but they mean something.”
Kelly said teachers have, coincidentally, been going through a similar training for cultural sensitivity, and they would be able to bring that teaching to the table to help the new program.