Leaders at The Taft School are taking action after a racial slur was written on a student’s dorm room door.
School officials told NBC Connecticut that on Martin Luther King Jr. Day a student from Ghana returned to his dorm to find “Go back to Africa” and a racial slur written across a bulletin board on the door.
Officials learned of several other incidents involving "hateful language regarding race and sexual orientation" between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon, but did not provide specifics on the other incidents. A piece of art by a student was also defaced.
According to an email from school officials to NBC Connecticut, campus leaders met with students Wednesday to discuss the incidents. Officials stressed that this type of language was unacceptable and “totally at odds with the core values of the school.
The school is committed to making sure that all students feel supported and safe, and the administration and faculty are working with students to move forward in productive ways,” wrote Taft School spokesperson Kaitlin Orfitelli.
The school also sent an email to the Taft community and classes were canceled last Thursday in order to further discuss the issues with students. There have been moderated discussions about inclusivity with school staff and with student leaders from clubs and groups across campus.
“With students from 44 countries and 33 states, Taft is a school that prides itself on diversity and inclusion. Although these incidents are deeply disturbing and at odds with all Taft aspires to be, they offer a teachable moment for our community and have allowed us to continue and deepen discussions on campus about racism, homophobia, and intolerance,” Orfitelli added.
An internal investigation is underway.
The Taft School is a private boarding school in Watertown with 594 students in grades nine through post-graduate.
Watertown police said the school made them aware of the situation, and if it identifies the person or people responsible and the students would like to press charges this could then become a criminal case.