Let the Light In (#Endsystemicracisminschools (ESRIS))

Let the Light In (#Endsystemicracisminschools (ESRIS))

June 8, 2022
Petition to
Chancellor of Education New York City Department of Education
Signatures: 329Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters


New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities IV was founded in August 2017 in Rockaway Park, Queens.  The school is located on the Beach Channel Educational Complex (opened in 1973).  The Complex is also home to three other high schools and two learning programs. In 2014, Beach Channel High School was shut down after a long history of academic failure. The campus was known as being very violent prior to 2014, and still has that reputation on the peninsula.  The exterior resembles a prison with its color-scheme, lack of windows, spotlights, and window fencing.  The interior’s neglected facilities and interior window fencing contributes to a gloomy tone. 

In the summer of 2017, Founding Principal Hannah Kehn removed window fencing on all the school’s classroom windows and on the windows at the end of the hallways where New Visions Classrooms reside.  These windows open 6 inches and there are no regulations requiring them. For the past three summers, Hannah and her team have re-designed the spaces they are allocated into beautiful and dynamic learning environments.  

On September 9th, 2019 without any notice, an email was created calling out the lack of window fencing in New Visions areas  a “safety hazard” on campus.  Within 48 hours, the fencing was reinstated at the end of the hallways.  


Although a truly unfortunate and unexpected turn of events,  HUM IV is deciding to use this situation as an opportunity to live out our school’s mission:

We are artist-scholars who analyze global issues impacting humanity for the purpose of becoming an engaged community inspired to CREATE.

As someone who took on this issue in 10th grade and again now as 12th grade class president and Valedictorian, I am so glad to be given the opportunity to speak out on an issue of importance to me and other students at Beach Channel Education Complex.  At HUM IV, I have been able to lead a project that can and will make a difference in my school community. At Humanities IV, I’ve learned how to take things that bother me and actually speak out on them not only through activism, but through being what we call an “artist scholar” - I take knowledge and I CREATE something with it. 

Systematic racism has been an issue affecting Black Americans for decades. We vigilantly see the oppression of Black Americans in various ways from police brutality to living in low-income communities that offer poor schooling systems, health care, etc. However, for my artist activist project, the negative effect that systematic racism has had on the African American community from post slavery till this day is their education system. Isn’t education the key to freedom? 

Students at Beach Channel Educational campus have truly struggled to understand why this interior fencing is on our windows that barely open on the 2nd and 3rd floors.  A predominantly white high school across the street does not have such imagery which represents so much.    It restricts the necessary creativity that should be very evident in school. Instead of feeling safe, imagery like interior fencing and the inability to open windows on the second and third floors even a few inches  makes students feel like threats in their own environment. 

A person's environment molds them into who they are, if an environment feels like a prison, the people inside the environment may be influenced to feel and act negatively.   Regardless, we don't deserve it. 

Through this  petition, which I hope you are compelled to sign today, I hope to not only bring awareness, but to also finally bring change. Thank you for your support.

Support now
Signatures: 329Next Goal: 500
Support now