WELLSTON — This past week, an offensive poem, which many in the community soon labeled as racist, made its way to the internet, and was shared widely across social media. That poem was written by a student in the Wellston City School District.
Wellston City Schools Superintendent Karen Boch shared that a number of parents and families had contacted her to express their concerns and their anger over the offensive poem.
“I wish to let the community know that this matter is under investigation and is not over,” stated Boch. “Wellston City Schools takes such matters seriously.”
Boch added, “Treating everyone in our schools – students, teachers, and staff — with dignity and respect must be part of our culture, and we must practice it daily in everything we do. We expect everyone to adhere to our anti-harassment and non-discrimination policies, and we will act when anyone violates those policies.”
Boch shared that she has met with several students about the incident and has spoken to several concerned parents.
“I want you to know I’ve heard you and I am committed to using this incident to begin a broader discussion about making our district a more equitable, welcoming place for all our students,” stated Boch. “I wanted to make sure you had the facts about this situation before any more time passed.”
During the past week, a video surfaced on social media showing that the under-age student, who wrote the poem, apologized in front of their peers during each lunch period. The student explained that they thought the poem was funny but soon learned that it was a bad choice to joke about racism. The student said the poem was stupid, flat-out horrible, and embarrassed them.
The Courier has since learned that an administrator in the Wellston City School District is on “administrative leave” while an investigation is ongoing.
Boch would not name the administrator at this time, noting that administrative leave is a temporary leave, it is not a punishment.
The investigation is being handled by Shane Stevens, who is the school district’s compliance officer.
More regarding the anti-harassment and non-discrimination policies in place in the Wellston City School District can be read on the Board of Education’s website.