Students at Brooklyn’s Poly Prep Country Day School say don’t lump them into one big ball of bigots and clapped back at Mayor Bill de Blasio for tweeting out a message about a blackface controversy that insinuated that racism was a widespread problem at the school.
“Poly Prep has some real explaining to do,” he wrote on Twitter Jan. 20, with a link to a story about two students who were embroiled in the controversy.
“And what’s absolutely clear is that a conversation about racism at the school is long overdue,” he added.
Brooklyn’s Poly Prep Country Day School is working to clean up its image after the private school came under fire when a racist video made the rounds on social media starring two of its students in offensive blackface.
The NY Daily News learned, however, that the Poly Prep school has been under fire before regarding two previous incidents at the all-male, all-white school two years ago.
But other students begged to differ, and wrote a letter to the mayor saying that the students who made the video make up only a small fraction of the Poly Prep population.
They said there were more students who hit back against the video protested.
“We are writing in response to your recent Tweet about our school, Poly Prep,” stated the teens’ letter, which was signed by the student government and the Black students’ affinity group, Umoja.
“It was an oversimplified and inflammatory reaction,” the letter continued.
“We invite you to come visit our campus before you pass judgment,” the letter said. “As a student body, we are absolutely committed to making our school a space where all feel respected and safe.”
De Blasio sent a response to the students for “holding administrators and faculty to a high standard” and for banding together to respond strongly to protect their school.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that our city remains a beacon of hope and equality for the world,” de Blasio wrote to the teens. “Students like you, who are willing to tackle these difficult issues head-on, will help us keep that promise.”
He added: “I look forward to seeing the change you are sure to bring about at your school, and all that you will accomplish in the years to come.”
Poly Prep officials claims they are planning to address their problems by securing an outside firm to address issues of race and to study and report on diversity.
They have also developed a task force to address and ensure equity in student discipline.