by Guy Page
The Molly Stark Elementary School, a Bennington school in the Southwestern Vermont Supervisory Union, ordered a Shelter In Place after a student used a racial slur Wednesday, October 27.
According to a notification circulated on social media, Principal Donna Bazyk wrote October 27 that “today an incident occurred at Molly Stark Elementary in which it was necessary to execute a Shelter in Place….The administration responded and was made aware that a learner used racial slurs and profanity which was heard by nearby learners and staff.”
The Chronicle emailed and telephoned Principal Bazyk but was unable to connect with her. A secretary at the SVSU district office said she was unaware of the incident, and directed the Chronicle to district Public Information Officer Katie West. A message was left on Ms. West’s answering machine. School officials’ responses will be published promptly.
The district’s bullying and harrassment policy requires school officials to take “prompt and appropriate remedial action” against racial slurs, but says nothing specifically about sheltering in place, which is traditionally reserved when there is concern for the physical safety of students and staff.
Social media comments questioned the wisdom of the Shelter in Place response.
- “Did I read that correctly?? Shelter in place? Because of a few words? I realize that words matter, and am not attempting to trivialize what I do not have first hand knowledge of. Could they not take the children involved to the counselor or the principal? Instead of alarming so many others?”
- “And exactly what words were used? Is this going to end up a huge nothing burger like at the high school? Where NO WEAPONS OF ANY KIND FOUND! Who chooses what words are appropriate and the that are not? Sounds like a lot of over reacting. Maybe the so called adults need to be put in check! And to traumatize children at any age is not good. Teaches them to overreact to things that are trivial.”
- “Crazy stuff. To close down a school over words . What are these kids going to do when they get out into the REAL world? If anyone thinks that it’s going to be a sunshine and lollipop world because we sheltered these kids is in for one huge awakening.”