By: Anonymous New Haven Public School 2020 Graduate
As a young Black woman, I’ve dealt with a lot of problems, especially within the school system. In my opinion, there isn't enough support for people like me. For 4 years I went through high school without all the necessary support I feel as though I should've had. I dealt with bullying, I’ve witnessed fights, I’ve even experienced just how unprofessionally the administration dealt with situations. Their way of handling a lot of problems at [my school*] was mediation. During mediation the students involved are supposed to sit in a room with the principal, social worker, and parents, they are then forced to apologize to each other and told to put the problem “behind them.”
Due to my school's conflict resolution method, I was attacked in a school bathroom by 6 girls my junior year of high school, one of the main attackers was the same girl I had a meditation with. After being cornered in a bathroom and having to act in self-defense, almost 10 minutes had gone by without sight of security. [My school*] at the time housed 2 disciplinary handlers, 2 security guards, and 1 on duty resource officer, yet after 10 minutes, only 1 security guard showed up to break up a fight involving 7 students. After I sat around just to be told that the principal wasn’t even there. Even after explaining that I was acting in self-defense, and showing a video that proved I was solely acting in self-defense, I was still suspended for 3 days, only one out of the 6 other girls received any consequences.
Upon returning, I continued to be bullied and bothered by the other girls. Even after seeking out administration help, I was told to go back to class. The problem continued and followed me into my senior year, making it difficult to focus on my studies. I went to a teacher and told her what was going on and why my attendance was becoming flaky. I was then told that she was not a licensed therapist and she sarcastically asked me what I expected her to do and what I wanted her to say. The bullying continued and got so bad, I stopped attending school. I watched as my grades dropped, and my attendance fell even lower.
I missed out on senior year because of a school system that failed to do their job appropriately. I wasn’t assisted in the way I should’ve been. I’m sure a lot of students are dealing with situations like this daily. Justice not being served, help not being provided, and problems not being truly solved, just swept under the rug, ignored, and disregarded. For 4 years I felt invisible, unheard, and misunderstood. I felt neglected, and left to fend for myself. Now that I've graduated, I am left with the thoughts of how unsupported I was and how unprepared I am for what’s to come in life, and it’s sad to think that there are others being treated the same way.
*The school name was removed to protect the student's privacy