Middle school offered ‘safe space’ for ‘students of color’ instead of class after Arbery, Rittenhouse verdicts

A Massachusetts middle school created “safe spaces” for students following the verdicts in the cases of Kyle Rittenhouse and Ahmaud Arbery, according to a Thursday report.

Bigelow Middle School, which is located in the city of Newton, sent a “midweek update” on Dec. 1 to families of students directing them to read a letter that described “safe space choices” for the students themselves, Fox News reported.

The letter described three “safe spaces” that were opened Dec. 2 in response to the verdicts in both cases, one of them being specifically for “students of color.” In addition, the letter encouraged parents to talk about choices of safe spaces with their kids.

Students were given the option of going to their advisory class period, per normal, or choosing one of the three “safe spaces” after viewing a video from Principal Chassity Coston who talked about both cases.

“Reactions to Verdicts: Hearing and learning from peers,” “Rumor Control Room: Facts presented in cases, today’s laws and final verdicts,” and “Questions & Discussion for Students of Color” were the three “safe spaces” created by the middle school.

“Come together with other Bigelow students of color to process and get answers to any questions you have regarding these two cases,” says one of the safe space descriptions, Fox News noted.

The letter goes on to say that the two cases are “both sensitive topics with many layers of political, racial and social concerns.”

“Regardless of those concerns, the Kyle Rittenhouse conclusion will likely be seen as yet another unfair reality for many Bigelow families, staff and students — particularly our community members of color, while the Ahmaud Arbery conclusion may be seen as a glimpse of hope and justice,” the letter continues.

Coston said in the letter that the middle school has assumed a responsibility to “address the impact” of both cases with its students.

“Bigelow has a responsibility to address the impact of both situations, and to make sure that you as students are educated on real-world topics to prepare you for life after Bigelow,” she wrote.

On Nov. 19, a jury in Kenosha, Wis., found Rittenhouse not guilty on five counts of murder and reckless endangerment after jurors determined he was acting in self-defense when he shot three rioters the night of Aug. 25, 2020, killing two of them and wounding a third.

Meanwhile, three white men — Travis McMichael, his father Greg, and William “Roddie” Bryan — were found guilty on Nov. 24 of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a black man, in Georgia earlier this year.

A Newton Public Schools spokesperson told Fox News confirmed the letter had been sent to parents and defended the establishment of “safe spaces.”

“When these types of national events occur, we provide our staff with the support they need to navigate these challenging conversations, as well as the space they may need to process the event themselves,” the spokesperson said.

“We fully support our schools’ efforts to create space and support for all of our students and staff members and are grateful that we have school leaders who are committed to engaging in this important work,” the spokesperson added.

Jon Dougherty


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