Noblesville schools hold discussions on race, diversity in wake of school threat
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – Noblesville schools held discussions on race and diversity Monday after a 15-year-old student was detained for allegedly writing a racist, threatening message on a restroom wall.
The district was in session Monday with increased police presence after the threatening message, which was found on a bathroom stall and mentioned a school shooting, Mayor John Ditslear said a portion of the school day was dedicated to discussing race and diversity with students.
“I implore us all to be strong in our collective message that racism, or marginalizing anyone based upon their gender, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability, age, family status, or sexual orientation will not be tolerated here. The Noblesville community is above that and we must stand together. Racism, hatred and this threat of violence will not be tolerated.
“I want to recognize Noblesville Schools and the Noblesville Police Department for the handling of Friday’s incident. Police began investigating the threat in question immediately and extra safety precautions were taken. Since being detained by police, the school district has begun expulsion proceedings on the student. I also want to thank everyone that attended the community forum on Saturday afternoon, and for the Noblesville Diversity Coalition and NHS student leaders for organizing it so quickly.
“Noblesville is our home. It is home to more than 65,000 residents. We have different backgrounds, different languages, different religious beliefs and different skin colors. Our differences do not divide us, but make our community stronger and richer. We all call Noblesville home. We all want the best for our children and to live in a safe, nurturing environment.
“As the district holds its own discussions with students, it is important for every family in Noblesville to have their own conversations with their children about diversity and inclusion. This conversation will continue so we can make real, meaningful change and ensure this type of incident never happens again.”
Marnie Cooke, a spokeswoman for the district, said students in pre-K through 12th grade would have “age-appropriate” discussions with counselors, teachers and members of the Noblesville Diversity Coalition.
Those discussions included breakout sessions with groups directly threatened in last week’s incident.
“It’s important to let these students know they are secure, respected, and heard by providing a safe place for them to talk and share their feelings,” the district wrote in an email. “Our eventual goal is for students/adults of all races and ethnicities to feel safe, and to have open and honest conversations about race together.”
The district also shared these resources with parents:
- Talking to Children after Racial Incidents
- How to Talk to Kids about Racism: An Age-by-Age Guide
- 13 Tips on How to Talk to Children about Diversity and Difference
Students and parents are encouraged to attend the next Noblesville Diversity Coalition event with national speaker Cornelius Minor on Nov. 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Noblesville High School.