Administration schedules educational seminars for upcoming “Day of Impact”


Credit: WSPN Staff

The Boston Parent Council designated Tuesday Jan. 17, as a district-wide Day of Impact, in which many METCO students will stay home from school.

Genevieve Morrison

In response to the racist graffiti targeted towards Superintendent Omar Easy last month, the Boston Parent Council organized a district-wide “Day of Impact,” in which Boston resident students are encouraged to stay home from school in solidarity against this act of racism, as well as others in the history of the town. This will be taking place on Tuesday, Jan. 17. WHS students will not be penalized for participating in this protest.

“Many Boston resident students will not be attending school in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of their presence in our community,” Principal Allyson Mizoguchi said.

Some students will not be able to miss school because of academic or extracurricular responsibilities that require them to be on campus. Administration is offering workshops to these students who may still want an opportunity to educate themselves on race issues in recognition of the “Day of Impact.”

“The administration of the high school and myself put our heads together to figure out what we can do for the day here at the school for students who might be here,” WHS METCO coordinator Mark Liddell said.

Administration and teachers have organized a series of optional educational opportunities during all blocks of the day to inform students about issues involving race. Tuesday will be a normal school day, but these seminars will be open and optional for all students.

“We have a whole roster of people who will be teaching in the lecture hall on various topics,” Liddell said. “Our goal is to promote empathy as well as understand the events that happened with Dr. Easy as well as other events throughout the past several years.”

Liddell will teach a seminar on Tuesday that focuses on the n-word, which was the language used on the racist graffiti last month.

“It’s on the history of the word, using historical and modern voices to talk about the impact of the word, and my slant, which is that the word shouldn’t be used at all,” Liddell said.

Though administration expects that the majority of WHS’s Boston resident students will not attend school Tuesday, the number of Wayland residents that will attend school is more unclear.

“It’s the Wayland resident students that we’re not totally sure about,” Mizoguchi said.

All WHS faculty and staff have been made aware of the “Day of Impact” and potential that their students might not be in class. As long as students have parental consent to miss school, their absences will be excused. However, if students are absent from class for the workshops or to stay home, they will need to make up the work that they miss.

“[Students] would be made aware that they need to make up work that they’re missing,” Mizoguchi said. “It’s a tricky time with mid-years coming up, so we recognize that.”

On the “Day of Impact,” administration will implement a system for parents whose children are absent from school to explain that they did so to protest racism. If parents do this, their children will still be allowed to attend sports and other extracurriculars. The protest will be counted as a field trip, and the seminars on campus will be classified as an in-school field trip with no penalty. Administration also hopes that students who participate in the protest don’t limit it to academics.

“[Protest] would be counted as a field trip, so students will be able to take part in sports,” Vice Principal Sean Gass said in a statement on behalf of WHS administration. “However, we do hope that if somebody is protesting through non-participation in educational programming that that would also extend to sports and other activities, because that would be the most impactful.”

Mizoguchi believes that the “Day of Impact” can be an effective part of a broader goal, to diminish the effect of racism in Wayland.

“I’m hoping that it’s one next step in the big long journey,” Mizoguchi said.

This story has been updated.