Support the @BlackAtBolles Demands!

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*We ask that all alumni, parents and others who support @BlackAtBolles refrain from making any donations to The Bolles School until an official statement is publicly released in which the school commits to implementing all of our demands.*

IMMEDIATE ACTION ITEMS:

1. We demand the immediate termination/resignation of...

  • Dean John Newman
  • Laura Boswell
  • Mike Boswell
  • Dr. Danton Kostandarithes
  • Matt Morris
  • Allison Chandler

2. We demand that they all not only be terminated, but also are replaced by new Black faculty members.

3. We demand the prohibition of any display of the confederate flag on campus by all students, employees, or visitors.

4. We demand the immediate implementation of a ZERO tolerance policy for all forms of racism, discrimination, and hate speech amongst all faculty, coaches and students with the penalty of automatic expulsion.

5. We demand that traditional African-American cultural hairstyles including, but not limited to, braids, dreadlocs, and twists are not to be prohibited for all Black students, regardless of gender.

6. We demand a permanent yearly series of convocations, speakers and workshops that highlight all kinds of diversity.

7. We demand an annual INTENSIVE Diversity and Inclusion training for all Bolles faculty members, athletic staff members, and administrators (inc. Head of School and Board of Trustees) that includes anti-racism, anti-bias and anti-aggression training.

8. We demand that two additional faculty members be hired to serve under the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at The Bolles School to help ensure that all policies, procedures and student life become and remain inclusive of all.

“My suggestions include racial sensitivity training for teachers, a shift in the curriculum (English, history), and Dr K’s resignation.”

“I don’t remember if Fagan was fired but fire him. He’s sexist (knowing this from firsthand) and I’ve heard secondhand what else he thinks. He made female students in my grade very uncomfortable.”

“More black faculty and less toleration for the people like CJ Grimes, Lauren Boswell, and Marshall Gainer. I believe that Lauren was taught by her father that racism is okay so he should be terminated as well. Also, Matt Morris the athletic director once told a player that he understands why he called a football player from another team the n word, he needs to go too.”

“I also demand racial epithets be punishable by expulsion at the school. Bolles needs to be proactive in protecting black students from hate speech - so they don’t have to police these matters in the way they deem necessary.“

“Actual disciplinary actions against those accused of racist speech/ actions, not matter how big their donation to the school”

“HOLD COACHES ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR RACIST BELIEFS”

9. WE DEMAND A RACIALLY REPRESENTATIVE LEADERSHIP, FACULTY CORE, AND STUDENT BODY!

10.  We demand the nomination of two additional black members to the Board of Trustees.

11. We demand within the next three years the hiring of...

- at least 1 full-time Black teacher for every department, in addition to, 2 Black guidance/college counselors at the San Jose Upper School.

- at least 4 Black full-time teachers at the Bartram Middle School.

- at least 2 Black faculty members at the Whitehurst Lower School.

- at least 2 Black faculty members at the Ponte Vedra Lower School.

Suggestions:

- Use different job posting sites/venues.
- Make partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
- Implement the “Rooney Rule” when hiring for all open positions in the future.


12. We demand more diverse athletic coaching staffs.

13. Specifically, we demand the hiring of a Black assistant coach for the football team within the next year.

14. We demand the hiring of more black and brown staff supervisors (inc. transportation, maintenance, custodial and cafeteria) on all four campuses.

15. We demand livable wages for all transportation, maintenance, custodial and cafeteria staff members.

16. Since each graduating class has around 180+ students, we demand after the next five years that there never be less than...

- 20 black students per grade in Upper School.

- 12 black students per grade in Middle School.

- 6 black students per grade per Lower school.

Suggestions:

- Admit Black applicants of all backgrounds.

- Do a better job of presenting the school as an option to black students attending predominantly Black elementary and middle schools in Jacksonville. When doing so, school officials should also be more open and transparent about the financial resources available to parents.

 

“STOP THE TOKENISM.”

“A hiring freeze for all white faculty and a commitment to hire more faculty of color and SPECIFICALLY more black faculty.”

“Stop using minority students as photo ops for diversity. We know why they do it.”

 

17. WE DEMAND EQUAL CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN THE CURRICULUM ACROSS ALL FOUR CAMPUSES!

 

18. We demand the creation of a MANDATORY Afro-American History course at the Upper School that is permanently taught by a Black teacher with a masters or doctorate degree in Afro-American Studies by the 2021-2022 academic year.

19. We demand that all history courses across all four campuses are updated to be more reflective of Black American and African history.

20. We demand that by the 2021-2022 academic year a full-time Black English teacher is hired to teach the new course 20th and 21st Century Journeys in African-American Literature.

21. We demand that all English and literature courses across all four campuses require more books from Black and other authors of color.

22. We demand an immediate restructuring of the mandatory Life Management course to include sections that educate students on racism, sexism, and the LGBTQ+ community, in addition to, anti-racism, anti-bias and anti-aggression training.

 

“Get rid of the civil war class. I was thought by mr. Milne. (Not sure if hes still there). You’d think the south was peaceful and the slaves were there by choice � OR keep the class but have it be a REAL class. �❤️”

“I would like to see not just a Black history elective taught at Bolles (and taught by a Black history teacher which should also be a demand), but actively include Black history in the regular curriculums of all history classes - even European history.”

“Well-Read Black Girl” is an amazing read and should be required in regular/ honors classes so everyone can understand that many black women remember the first time they had representation. I’ll bet my job that WASP students can’t remember the first time they felt represented in literature because they’re always in it.”

“Life Management should have a racism and social awareness unit instead of learning the names of drugs and doing a PowerPoint on them...”

“WHITE PRIVILEGE BEING A REQUIRED DISCUSSION. NO CONVOCATION, NO MEMO, AM ACTUAL CONVERSATION FACILITATED IN CLASSROOMS.”

 

23. WE DEMAND A MORE DIVERSE AND INCLUSIVE STUDENT LIFE!

 

24. We demand the establishment of school-sanctioned and funded affinity groups for Black, Latinx, Asian, Jewish, Muslim, LGBTQ+, and other communities of students beyond traditional club status with each being allowed to appoint/vote two members to a Diversity Student Council, which would annually appoint/vote two council members to the Bolles Student Council to serve as Diversity Chair and Associate Diversity Chair with the privileges of voting and participation in discussions.

25. We demand that the student theme “redneck” be permanently banned for all student events.

26. We demand that no appropriation of any minority cultures be allowed in the development of homecoming/sporting event/etc. student themes.

27. We demand that students never be prohibited or hindered from speaking their native language anywhere on campus.

“I don’t know if Bolles has something already in place but when I graduated they didn’t. I think they should do something about dress code when it come to natural hair such as braids, and dreads. I’ve seen many of my fellow black classmates some that come from different countries have to cut there braids/ dreads dude to “dress code” I believe that braids and dreads are apart of the African American culture and a student should not feel guilty and have that striped from them.”

“As a Pakistani-Muslim at Bolles, I find it hard to practice many aspects of my religion and culture at school. For example, the meditation room which is the best place for afternoon prayer is completely out of the way of most all classes which stops me from praying between classes quickly. The biggest thing I would like to see is the lifting of restrictions on growing facial hair. I have researched many Islamic scholars that all say that shaving the beard is considered haram (prohibited) because it is considered changing Allah’s creation. Of course, I can see where the school is coming from and I don’t expect to be allowed to grow out a full length beard, but I would like to keep one that is shorter to practice my faith and culture to the best ability and meet the obligations of Islam.”

“I would like for Bolles to provide greater visibility to the LGBTQ+ community, including a dress code that allows for transgender /non-binary students to be more comfortable, and to provide better education about LGBTQ+ history.”

 

28. WE DEMAND THAT THE STUDENT-PARENT HANDBOOK IS UPDATED TO BE MORE INCLUSIVE OF VARIOUS CULTURAL NORMS AND TRADITIONS.

 

REPEAT: 5. We demand that traditional African-American cultural hairstyles including, but not limited to, braids, dreadlocs, and twists are not to be prohibited for all Black students, regardless of gender.

29. We demand that a cultural waiver be created so students can grow facial hair if they belong to religions/cultures that do not permit or encourage shaving.

30. We demand that the dress code be amended to allow transgender/non-binary students to dress according to their chosen gender expression.

 

WE DEMAND THAT AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT TO IMPLEMENT ALL OF OUR DEMANDS BE PUBLICLY RELEASED BY THE BOLLES SCHOOL WITHIN THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS!

 

Additional Demand Testimonials:

“Get rid of the civil war class. I was thought by mr. Milne. (Not sure if hes still there). You’d think the south was peaceful and the slaves were there by choice � OR keep the class but have it be a REAL class. �❤️”

“I would like to see not just a Black history elective taught at Bolles (and taught by a Black history teacher which should also be a demand), but actively include Black history in the regular curriculums of all history classes - even European history. We spend so much time talking about WW1 and WW2 without ever talking about the impact soldiers of color from African countries, India, Southeast Asian nations, and so many more fought to defend Europe. Black history should NOT be confined to a day on slavery and a day on the civil rights movement.”

“Children of Blood and Bone” has many allusions to colonialism that English teachers can use. I’m halfway through it I love it so far and it also includes Nigerian folklore so boom bonus learning about Nigeria which we didn’t at all at Bolles.”

“Well-Read Black Girl” is an amazing read and should be required in regular/ honors classes so everyone can understand that many black women remember the first time they had representation. I’ll bet my job that WASP students can’t remember the first time they felt represented in literature because they’re always in it.”

“I feel the [APUSH] curriculum focuses on getting a 5 on the exam, and that in itself leads to people wondering why we dont cover more crucial topics. If the history department steps up and diversifies its classes with more politics and unknown history that people are afraid to teach, it will uproot the culture of ignorance and privilege for the future.”

“Life Management should have a racism and social awareness unit instead of learning the names of drugs and doing a PowerPoint on them...like kids will do drugs or not whether they learn the names or not. Make not doing drugs and alcohol important but don’t take up so much time on it and instead talk about the importance of listening to others and understand that racism in any from, micro aggression to physical aggression isn’t ok.”

“Teach white students how to be ALLIES��� I cannot stress this enough I learned how to be an ally this year at college and didn’t even know of the word until college. I feel a lot of shame for not knowing until now”

“WHITE PRIVILEGE BEING A REQUIRED DISCUSSION. NO CONVOCATION, NO MEMO, AM ACTUAL CONVERSATION FACILITATED IN CLASSROOMS.”

“Mandatory class about Race and Inclusivity that’s required in order to graduate. Diversity 100% needs to be reflected more in the curriculum.”

“Conduct an official faculty review & firing of all who have been mentioned on the page.”

“My suggestions include racial sensitivity training for teachers, a shift in the curriculum (English, history), and Dr K’s resignation.”

“I don’t remember if Fagan was fired but fire him. He’s sexist (knowing this from firsthand) and I’ve heard secondhand what else he thinks. He made female students in my grade very uncomfortable.”

“More black faculty and less toleration for the people like CJ Grimes, Lauren Boswell, and Marshall Gainer. I believe that Lauren was taught by her father that racism is okay so he should be terminated as well. Also, Matt Morris the athletic director once told a player that he understands why he called a football player from another team the n word, he needs to go too.”

“I also demand racial epithets be punishable by expulsion at the school. Bolles needs to be proactive in protecting black students from hate speech - so they don’t have to police these matters in the way they deem necessary.“

“Actual disciplinary actions against those accused of racist speech/ actions, not matter how big their donation to the school”

“HOLD COACHES ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR RACIST BELIEFS”

“I also would like to add a demand that Bolles initiate an internal investigation into their decision making around students cited for racist behavior, overseen by outside adjudicators experienced in identifying and dismantling systems of white supremacy. The people who have historically allowed blatantly racist students to continue at Bolles with a slap on the wrist should be clearly identified and removed and replaced with systems centering around restorative justice.”

“As a white alumni, and a parent with kids entering this year, I would like to see a ban on Confederate memorabilia for all students, on or off campus, no “redneck” themed events, and hate speech or bullying added to the list of violations that go before the Honor Council. I’m certain that others will have ideas for more changes, but those came to mind from reading the types of hateful behavior outlined in many of this page’s accounts, as well as my experiences at Bolles in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. I believe the school is more ready than ever to begin to tackle the racist, classist, and homophobic atmosphere that has pervaded the school for decades.”

“Bolles has disappointed and continues to disappoint me in a lot of ways which is frankly something I’d believe most of fellow peers and would agree with. The attitude of students at this school was predominately ignorant and still is. I have heard students use racial, homophobic, transphobic, and mental health slurs without any regard to the impact these words have. Courage? Integrity? Compassion? These values seem to be preached a lot but sure as hell were never acted on. Bolles continues to remain weak on any form of accountability.”

“Move from what has felt like a color blind environment to a “color brave environment”, because we cannot stand for this upcoming generation to be robbed of real diversity of perspectives. Color blindness = ignoring the problem

From Melody Hobson’s Tedtalk: We cannot afford to be color blind. We have to be color brave. We have to be willing to have proactive conversations about race with honesty and understanding and courage. Not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing to do.  Now I also think that this is really important so that this next generation really understands that this progress will help them, because they’re expecting us to be role models

 

  • Evaluating all operational practices with racial awareness - this is a continuum from the small, such as summer reading suggestions and in class materials to the larger such as hiring practices, recruiting and incentivizing a diverse student body
  • Engaging with a diversity consultant to evaluate operational changes needed; identify paths towards increasing board, staff/employee and student body diversity
  • Supporting and researching all opportunities to provide a more historically accurate perspective of race in US history to students
  • Requiring anti-racism education for students”

 

“There needs to be something of a balancing of staff and admin to have a more diverse situation going on. I don’t know if that would look like an immediate hiring freeze, how quickly it would happen, etc but it needs to happen. There also needs to be a more comprehensive and systemic understanding of class privilege that does not make racist assumptions but acknowledges the radical segregation of Jax that does operate on racial and economic lines. This would need to take place in the form of grants for example that help cover books, supplies, and the clothing itself (in some ways I think the non-uniform uniform is more classist than a straight up uniform).”

“I believe Bolles should hire administrators of color to deal with disciplinary issues. During high school, I was accused of cheating by a teacher. It was in a class where I was the only non-white student and the accusation was both false and malicious (I can share the full story if you want). Obviously it was ridiculous and nothing ever came of it. But the situation was badly handled by the white administrators. I believe that if I had been Black, things would have been even worse. Minority students are getting unfairly treated and punished by the school. They need to actively change this in the administration.”

“Do more than give a Saturday out or a lunch duty. The school says a lot when they punish a racist remark or action with the same punishment they hand out for a skirt being too short.”

“Create a diversity and inclusion committee where Black and POC students have a say on who is hired. Unfortunately, when I was at Bolles in 2018 there were only two Black faculty members, Mr. Brewer and Mrs. Ashman. It is clear the Bolles administration needs to increase the diversity within its staff.  Alongside this, Increase education and curriculum on Black history. ALL students should learn Black history and it’s importance. The fact that Bolles hires teachers who discredit Black history and its impact is a clear sign that those teachers should no longer be employed. The administration needs to implement a balanced curriculum that effectively addresses all areas of history. In addition to this, Bolles should host lectures and convocations from Black and POC speakers to educate students.”

“Create a system that enforced accountability for racist students and teachers. Based on the experiences of Black and POC students, it is clear that Bolles has never taken proper action, the time for change is now.”

“Replace Huckleberry Finn with multiple meaningful pieces of black literature.”

“Require more books during the year to be from POC authors.”

“How to be an Anti-Racist” be a required summer reading.”

“More representation in the faculty for POC students. Even as a white Jew I didn’t have anybody I could turn to for anti-Semitism. I can’t imagine what the POC student population feels. It’s sickening”

“Actual disciplinary actions against those accused of racist speech/ actions, not matter how big their wallet is.”

“I find a large issue in our society to be education, realizing that the failures of education are systemic and widespread. On this topic specifically - our education at Bolles (as many other schools) at least when I graduated in 2012 did not address in any manner the injustices that this country had continually perpetrated against minorities - especially African Americans. There were no mentions of Clennon King, Fred Hampton, the Porvenir Massacre against Latinos, the atrocities of the Internment of Japanese after WWII, or even more recently with Clinton’s 3 strikes your out rules and the economic machine that is mass incarceration. Are these topics not worthy to write essays about or debate? How do people stand up and salute the flag they know literally only the tip of the iceberg about? Bolles as a private school is free to create its own curriculum and in 2020 it is time that Bolles adds the full picture of American History including those of the oppressed to the curriculum.”

“From my experience there were white teachers who cared about me as a blacks student, but most of them mentioned on this page should be gone.”

“I believe in 2 pronged approach.  1.  Education for everyone including Board.  This should be regular and ongoing.  2.  Corrective.  There should be a function of the Diversity/inclusion committee to hear grievances and recommend punishment to HOS.  If some of the posts on Instagram page can be confirmed, some of those teachers need to have their contracts terminated.  Some of this is not ignorance which can possibly be remedied by education, but rather malice for which there should be zero tolerance for faculty and staff.  Since this is a private school, teachers don’t have the same protections for their jobs as at public schools.  Likewise some student behavior is deserving of suspension/expulsion depending on severity and extent.”