ST. LOUIS - Two Ladue Horton Watkins High School students have been disciplined following an incident on a school bus during which they used “racially offensive” language, the school said Friday.
It happened Thursday afternoon, according to Susan Downing, the communications director for the Ladue School District.
Tajah Walker, a sophomore, witnessed the incident. Walker said she and her basketball teammates were on a bus that transports some student athletes from the high school to other athletic fields for practice.
“Before the bus even pulls off the school lot, they had been chanting, ‘Trump, Trump, Trump’ toward the back of the bus, where my team was sitting,” Walker said. “One of the boys continued and said, all the black people should sit in the back of the bus.”
Walker reported the incident to her mother, Tango Walker-Jackson. Walker-Jackson immediately informed school administrators.
Downing said the two students who made the remarks were identified and disciplined after school administrators investigated the incident. Due to student privacy laws, the school district cannot specify the form of discipline.
Downing said Brad Griffith, the school's principal, made an announcement to the entire student body over the PA system Friday, using quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We’re sorry it happened. We wish that it hadn’t, but it did. So, you make it a learning opportunity, and you use it as an opportunity to discuss what happened and how we can respond to that in positive ways that lift each other up,” Downing said.
The Walker-Jacksons said they want the Ladue School District to provide more diversity training for the students and staff.
The full PA announcement is as follows:
Good Afternoon Ladue High School Community:
In light of the recent election and the weekend ahead, I felt it important that we take this opportunity to reaffirm who we are, and what we stand for as a larger community.
1201 South Warson is one of the few places that we have an opportunity to learn, laugh, study, and work together. You may be surprised to learn that we are one of the most diverse school districts in the state of Missouri. This diversity--racial, ethnic, and economic--is a source of our strength. It is what makes us who we are.
At the same time, the larger issues of social inequality, systemic and institutionalized racism that are impacting our nation—impact us in a very direct and meaningful way.
Regardless of your political ideology, we embrace one another’s race and ethnicity. We embrace one another’s family background, heritage, language, culture, and gender identity.
We embrace one another because it is a core value of our humanity. We are one school. We are one community.
Today, over the weekend and when you return to school, I encourage you to be kind and caring towards one another. We cannot change the world, but we can control our own actions, and how we choose to treat our fellow students.
In the words of Dr. King, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
We will protect and take care of each other. We will work towards justice. We will stand as one community.