School community abuzz about #PeaceinPV

The+hallways+were+empty+of+students+on+Wednesday+morning%2C+as+students+reported+to+school+at+10+a.m.+Teachers+used+the+morning+for+professional+development.++

Curstine Guevarra

The hallways were empty of students on Wednesday morning, as students reported to school at 10 a.m. Teachers used the morning for professional development.

Brianna Ruback and Lauren Cohen

Contrary to the trending hashtag, there wasn’t a whole lot of peace in PV on Tuesday.

Just a mere 48 hours ago, The Smoke Signal published a letter written by the Human Rights League about white supremacy and general intolerance of minority groups here at Pascack Valley. This generated a lot of positive responses from students, particularly over Twitter.

If anyone has been on Twitter at any point in the last 24 hours, they can see that the hashtag #PeaceInPV has been used as a way for students to voice their opinions and show their support for making Pascack Valley a safe environment for everyone.

Yesterday morning, every student received an email with the link to a “mixtape” where a student rapped about equality in our school. The song sparked immediate interest and discussion among many. Soon, students of all backgrounds and from all grades hit ‘Reply All’ and shared their thoughts on the topic with the rest of the school. Some of the emails offered constructive criticism or were sympathetic towards the problem, while others seemed to make light of the situation, making jokes that many felt were inappropriate. After numerous “reply all” emails had been exchanged, the email server was shut down.

Not too long after, Pascack Valley principal Tom DeMaio called for individual grade-level meetings in the auditorium after lunch to address the student body.

DeMaio explained what the administration has been trying to accomplish, encouraged the students to speak out if they see anything that seems to pose a threat, and restated that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. He assumed full responsibility for the way the issue has been addressed and apologized if students felt it was not dealt with particularly well or fast enough.

DeMaio could not be immediately reached for comment.

Immediately following the assembly, several classes discussed not only the issue of racial intolerance, but also the way everything was handled, especially with the administration.

Yesterday afternoon, a letter was sent out by DeMaio to the parents and students urging dialogue between parents and their children in order to “eradicate the hurtfulness of racial, religious, or gender bias in the Pascack Valley.” The email explained that the administration will “put into place future measures so every student can come to Pascack Valley and need not worry about the possibility of hearing or seeing negative actions or words among their peers.”

It also states that certain measures will be put in place so the students perpetrating this behavior will have to face consequences.