The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

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The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

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A response to SJC’s letter

Letter to the Editor
Helen Roth


Dear Students,

We, the undersigned, support the “Open Letter” from the members of the Student Justice Council (SJC). We acknowledge that structural and interpersonal racism permeates the ASL community. We endorse your call for creating visible, immediate, and effective change in the school’s approach to anti-racism work, and we believe we have a part to play in that process. Your letter is a clear sign that the school is failing to do the anti-racism work necessary for providing its students with the safety, educational experience, and cultural competence it aspires to develop in global citizens and critical thinkers. 

Addressing racism in our community is a safeguarding issue. Our students have the right to be safe and to have the adults around them proactively address issues of racism urgently and competently. Feeling safe at ASL should never be a struggle, especially in a school that centers student safety and well-being at the core of its mission. As educators, we know that the primary need of any learner is physical and emotional safety.

In order to stop this pattern of ignoring and excusing racism, we must make our school culture explicitly anti-racist. The lack of a coherent anti-racist plan at ASL contributes to a school culture where anti-racism work “begins and ends with students”. It is our responsibility to partner with students, colleagues, and families to build an anti-racist environment in all areas of school life and in the education we co-create. We acknowledge that the failure of adults to disrupt, address, and competently facilitate conversations about race and racism contributes to the racism in our community. It is each teacher’s responsibility to proactively foster safe classroom environments. We welcome the opportunity to develop channels of communication by which students can reflect back their experiences to teachers in ways that feel both empowering and safe.

Students should never have faced the racism and ongoing complacency, complicity, and inaction that prompted your letter. This letter bears witness to the reality that as an adult community we have a long way to go in terms of fulfilling our share of the work. Devising a plan to develop and implement the recommendations suggested in the Open Letter is a step towards achieving change. Each of the community members below recognizes they have work to do in creating change. We offer this letter as a step toward accountability, a commitment to changing the status quo, which cannot stand.

Victoria Wake

Lesley Yeo

Christopher Moore

Sean Linton

Nai-fang Chang

Warren Rusher

Hannah Notowitz

Kevin McKee

Diana Souza

Cosmo Murphy

Rhiannon West

Candace Bennett

Peter C. Cassidy

Jodi Warren

Bambi Thompson

Pranay Dhanani

Victoria Haynes

Peggy Elhadj

Eve Ellis

Alpha Toothman

Kristen Goodlett

Andrew McAllister

Jennifer Towleh

Heather Statz

Jessie Twiest

Melanie Manuel

Livia Piloto

Mike Boodey

Dan Raven-Ellison

Matt Twiest

Lexa Remmes

Kaitlyn Bradley

Tracy Steege

Alex Afsahi

Julie Spurr

Carmen Montaraz

Will Smeulders

Katharine Muir

Carlos Alvarez-Santos

Dylan Chambers

Pranay Dhanani

Elliott Green

Wendy Stallings

Deb Luheshi

Eunice Adeleke

Chris Chen

Neil Basu

Alison Muthig

Emily Cacciapaglia

Nicole Van Gasse

Ruth McDonough

Jillian Russell

Shahira Moola

Udai AbuLteaf

Louisa Avery

Lydia Crump

Ann Gould

Charles Awolesi

Sandrine Wright

Jenny Newell

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About the Contributor
Helen Roth
Helen Roth, Co Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Online
Helen Roth (’21) is the Co Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Online for The Standard. Helen began her journalism career in Grade 8 as an Opinions editor. She loves to inform others about issues our world faces today, as well as simultaneously learning more about the world around her. 

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