Hayward Student’s Mother ‘Thoroughly Disappointed’ by School’s Slow Response to Racial Incident

Two Hayward students were expelled after one created a list of racial slurs that the other then read out in class, but the parent of another school-goer said the step is too little, too late.

Taaj Avery said her 16-year-old daughter was shocked when a classmate at Moreau Catholic High School penned "The ABCs of Slurs." Another classmate read the list of slurs — one for each letter in the alphabet — aloud on campus last Monday.

"She was upset. She was confused. She was emotional. She was hurt," Avery said of her child's reaction to the offensive names that target a minority group. 

A statement issued Friday on behalf of Moreau Catholic High School accused the students of causing "immeasurable" harm.

Avery, however, said she and her daughter were "livid," while others at the school were "upset" due to the administration's painfully slow response. The boys weren't expelled immediately after Monday's incident and parents weren't notified until later in the week, she said.

"Look we’re realists," Avery said. "We know what kind of climate we live in; we know what’s going on in America right now; we know people have those feelings.

"But we were thoroughly disappointed in the fact (that) the school was almost complicit in it because they allowed this to go on unchecked for so many days."

Spokeswoman Donna Cumming on Friday acknowledged that a "delay in the decision-making process" caused "hurt, anxiety, and stress," and apologized for the pain inflicted on students, faculity members and families. 

"Our administration recognizes that this process could have and should have been conducted in a more timely manner, and with better communication to our students and parents," Cumming continued. "There is nothing more important than all of our students feeling heard, valued, and above all, safe, every day they walk through the doors of our school."

On Friday, classes were replaced by opportunities for students to process and communicate their feelings and hear from others. On Monday, students attended a so-called Unity Day.

“This is only the beginning as we will be partnering with an outside organization with specific programs to help build cultural awareness for our entire school community," Moreau Catholic High School officials said in a statement.

For her part, though, Avery views the efforts as belated and says the damage has already been done.

"It sends a message (that) this is not a culturally sensitive administration right now," she said.

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