Peaceful Demonstrations Lead To Big Victory For Students At Elite Ethical Culture Fieldston School – CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Students at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in Riverdale made headlines earlier this week after they staged a “teach-in” to protest the school’s handling of a blackface incident involving two students at the school.

On Thursday, the students in charge of the demonstration held a press conference at the school to address their demands and potential changes to the school’s policy.

It appears their efforts will pay off in the form of long-term curriculum changes and sensitivity training at the elite private school.

Students at Fieldston High School in the Bronx staged a “lock-in” on March 12 to protest cultural bias in their school. (Photo: Students of Color Matter)

More than 65 students participated in the peaceful demonstrations and on Thursday the group “Students of Color Matter” announced that it had reached an agreement with the school’s board of trustees that will meet all 20 of its demands.

Students then thanked the board and school’s administration for being open to their ideas and open to change.

“This work is just the beginning,” senior Isabella Ali said. “We will continue to hold this institution accountable and insure the implementation of these demands. The work that has been done is imperative to fulfill the school’s progressive mission, which includes a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice and ethical engagement. We hope that the triumphs attained as a result of this movement will serve as a catalyst for continuous change across educational institutions everywhere.”

Mediator Keith Wright, who attended Fieldston in the 1970s, thanked the board of trustees and the school’s teachers for their guidance.

“These young folks are going to become the future presidents of the United States, I do hope,” Wright said. “I think the students now and in the future got exactly what they wanted and the school got exactly what it needed.”

Outrage initially mounted over the lack of perceived discipline of current students who used racial and homophobic slurs in a viral video shot a couple of years ago that recently emerged. As a result, students slept in hallways after a full day of protests on Monday and continued their demonstrations over the next two days. Students of Color Matter leaders said nearly the entire school showed its support in some form of civil disobedience.

“My grandmother used to always tell me that in order to cure cancer, you have to expose cancer,” Wright said. “So what these folks have done, and will continue to do, is to cure the cancer that is not only here at this institution but also has spread all through the city, state and the country.”

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