Oak Park-River Forest High School Hosts Town Hall Meeting Following 2 Incidents Of Racist Graffiti

Bob Roberts
November 08, 2018 - 7:28 am

WBBM Newsradio/Bob Roberts


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A standing room only crowd filled the south cafeteria of Oak Park-River Forest High School on Wednesday night for a town hall meeting on racism and hate in the wake of two incidents of racist graffiti scrawling in the school and how to approach such sensitive topics at the school. 

There was tension and anger in the air, which School Board President Jackie Moore could detect early.

"Maybe that's the point, being uncomfortable," Moore said.

Hours earlier, students throughout the school engaged in discussion on the topic in classes, led by teachers. Several students said teachers were ill at ease in some cases, and students said in a number of classes they were afraid to speak out.

Facilitator Reesheeda Graham-Washington said students at the town hall meeting were heard and complaints were registered.

"There were moments when we resisted the urge to have an already-canned solution to some very difficult challenges," Graham-Washington said. 

Fourteen students, school administrators and community leaders were on the town hall's panel, including Oak Park Police Cmdr. Roger Grivetti, who made a plea for help in finding those responsible for the graffiti.  Notable by her absence was the school's principal, although Moore, Superintendent Joylynn Pruitt-Adams and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Greg Johnson were among those on the panel. 

Hispanic students complained that they had no representative on the panel, despite growing numbers.  That, Graham-Washington said, was inadvertent.