BURRILLVILLE – Officials at Burrillville High School are investigating an incident in which students allegedly posted a racial slur on a projector screen in a 11th grade English classroom.
According to Natasha Daigle, a student at the school, the students were doing a report on “the roaring 20s” and three of her male classmates were making a presentation on the book The Great Gatsby.
An offensive, and unrelated image briefly flashed across the screen. The teacher reportedly did not notice, but students took the incident to administrators.
Supt. Michael Sollitto says the district has alerted Burrillville police about the incident.
“Although I cannot comment on specific student discipline, I can assure you that the responsible party has been identified and severe disciplinary action, according to district policy, has been taken,” said Sollitto. “Burrilllville Schools will not tolerate any form of hate or racism.”
“We would like to thank the students that brought this information to school administrators,” said Sollitto. “Further investigation regarding this matter is ongoing.”
But Daigle, one of few students of color at the predominantly white school, says it’s not the first time she has taken such incidents to administrators, with little or no results.
“Things like this happen all the time with no consequence,” wrote Daigle. “I’ve been targeted at my school, where I’m supposed to be getting an education, just for the color of my skin.”
“This time I’m not letting it go,” she added.
Daigle’s mother, Jackie Daigle, said she has spoken to school administrators about what she sees as an ongoing problem at the school.
“The school official I have been dealing with is truly concerned but the other kids are either fearful of telling or just deciding to stay out of it,” said Jackie. “Natasha is not the only child experiencing this.”
Jackie shared a picture of the slide taken in the classroom on social media.
“My reason for posting about this was to ensure more action would have to be taken this time,” she said.
Principal Michael Whaley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.