Claremont schools plan discussions in response to assault of boyBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent
September 13. 2017 11:54PM
CLAREMONT — The Claremont School District is planning classroom discussions in response to an assault committed against an 8-year-old biracial boy last month.
Middleton McGoodwin, superintendent of schools, said Wednesday the incident took place on Aug. 28 before the start of school, which started on Sept. 5.
He said the incident raises serious community concerns and should be addressed as a community.
McGoodwin said he was “very disappointed” when he heard about the incident through the media.
“Some people want to indicate it’s a Claremont problem, but it’s not a Claremont problem, it’s a national problem,” he said. “We’re not running around like the sky is falling because this happened, but we’re also not saying this doesn’t happen a lot so we’re not going to address it.”
McGoodwin also referred to an allegedly racially motivated incident on a school bus in the Oyster River School District in Durham reported to have happened on Sept. 1.
“This event has happened. It happened in Oyster River as well. So these are reminders that hatred and racism are not a thing of the past,” McGoodwin said. “It’s time to come together and address this. … It’s going to take time and commitment. I believe we can do this, but it’s going to take a committed effort.”
McGoodwin sent a message to parents in the community through a recorded phone message on Monday.
“The Claremont Police Department continues to work on this case, which involved minors. As a result, information about this incident remains confidential, as it should,” McGoodwin said in a transcript of the recording. “However, I wanted you to know that the Claremont School District, like you, is very troubled by what occurred. Racism, and hate, are not a thing of the past. And though the Claremont School District stands on the belief that each person has the right to be respected, and a responsibility to treat others with respect, this does not always happen.”
McGoodwin said planning has begun for ongoing age appropriate, and grade appropriate, conversations “about racism, and hate, with the objective of helping the entire school community be more aware, and more capable, to prevent future incidents.”
McGoodwin said this will not be one single event or one single class discussion, but rather ongoing talks with students throughout the school year and for several years going forward.