ACLU, superintendent respond to campaign alleging history of racism at Biglerville High School

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BIGLERVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) — A social media campaign alleges a pattern of racism within Biglerville High School walls. Now, it has the attention of both the district and the ACLU.

“These kids are serious. They’re motivated, and they’re willing to part of the process,” said LaRock Husdon, activist and spokesperson for the page, “Racism at Biglerville High School.”

Story after story can be found on the page by students past and present. Most are anonymous out of fear of retaliation.

“The oldest being 64 — that’s a pretty large gap that we need to fill with acknowledgement to the hurt and trauma that has gone on,” Hudson said.

Upper Adams School District Superintendent Dr. Wesley T. Doll acknowledged that the school has had issues with racism in the past, but said every complaint is addressed and taken seriously.

“It was very disheartening, and it saddened me to think that there are some voices that aren’t just being heard,” Doll said.

The issue was also heard by the ACLU, which supports the group and reminded the district cannot investigate or retaliate against those making posts since they’re protected under the First Amendment.

“The ability to speak truth to power requires protection about people’s identities,” said Vic Walczak, legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Doll wants those voices to be heard, but in order to keep stories from slipping through the cracks, he’s encouraging people to use the Safe 2 Say system.

“We do have a statewide system through our Safe to Say process where we are held accountable, and we receive text messages 24/7,” Doll said.

Still, posters want to see action, saying it’s decades overdue.

“There’s a whole lot of ‘I didn’t know’ going on instead of, ‘we understand how you feel,'” Hudson said.

Another reason why the ACLU got involved is to make sure the district knows, if students of color are being disciplined differently or exposed to a hostile education environment, it’s up to the district to take action, or it could face serious consequences.

Doll said this is their top priority and they are already exploring ideas like creating focus groups for students of color.

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