Parents and students protested the move and chanted against the board during the sunday board meeting.
America is often called a nation built by immigrants and it's only natural that people are welcoming and respectful of other people's traditions and cultures. So it wasn't surprising when the Forest Hills School District school board faced a backlash from students and parents for voting to cut the district's "diversity day." Board members of the school district voted 4-0 to ban diversity day, leading to protests from parents and students from Turpin High School in Anderson Township, Ohio. The school had a rich tradition of holding diversity day so the students were gutted the event was canceled just 24 hours before it was scheduled to be held. The students decided enough was enough and took things into their hands by organizing their own diversity day to keep the tradition alive.
Even as students and parents strive toward plurality, school boards such as Forest Hills School District school are moving away from championing diversity. Sunday's special board meeting organized to decide the fate of the tradition was a heated session that ended in name-calling. Students and parents chanted against the board in favor of holding the event. The school board also sent out a newsletter officially canceling the event. Parents complained that people with no stake in the future of the students at Turpin school were making the decisions for them.
"Diversity Day to me has been one of the best things at Turpin that I have experienced so far," said senior Casey Lupariello, reported WLWT. The board decided to ban diversity day from happening during school hours or with taxpayer resources. "We just talk about the diversity of all kinds," said Lupariello. "And, try to understand the people around us better and ourselves better, and try to get a better world view." Lupariello is one of the leaders of the event. "A minority of people, many of which we don't believe are actual parents of Turpin students are making the decision for the majority of these Turpin students who want to participate," parent Natalie said.
When asked on what grounds diversity day was canceled, Sara Jonas, a school board member, claimed it was offensive to Black families as students discussed social justice issues. Jonas suggested the students organize an event to share foods and music from different cultures instead of discussing social justice issues. The students panned her suggestion and decided to hold the event just as it had always been held, with intense debate and discussions on social justice issues.
Many of the students showed incredible bravery to stand up to the board and organize their own event. “I am scared to ask a teacher to go to the bathroom during a test, but I think there are some issues you have to take a stand on,” said Claire Mengel, a senior at Turpin High School, according to WKRC Local 12. “If authority isn’t protecting your needs or listening to you, then they shouldn’t be in authority.” The students organized the event off-campus on May 18 and held a peaceful demonstration as well.