A racist epithet was written on a wall inside Lime Kiln Middle School in Fulton, and school leaders responded Wednesday by stating the incident was “beyond disappointing and devastating to us,” especially in light of two other recent incidents of racist slurs being used at the school.
In a Dec. 17 letter written to the school community, Principal Lucy Lublin and Assistant Principal Carol Ketterman wrote: “Reflecting on this year so far, LKMS has dealt with important incidents, including the writing of a racial slur (“N****r”) on a sixth-grade student’s locker, and some eighth-grade students using the same racial slur verbally in exchanges with each other during class time. It is clear that we need to renew and strengthen our commitment to our school’s efforts in creating a learning environment that is reflective of our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) focus.”
In another letter sent Wednesday, Lublin and Ketterman said the same racist epithet was written on a wall in one of the school’s hallways.
The slur was removed from the wall and the incident is actively being investigated by the school system, according to Brian Bassett, director of communication and engagement for the Howard County Public School System.
Lime Kiln Middle School has a total student enrollment of 619 as of September 2021. According to school system collected data, the student population at the school is 41.5% White, 28.1% Asian and 15% Black/African American. Ten percent of students are of two or more races, while less than 5% of the student body identifies as American Indian/Alaskan, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or Hispanic/Latino.
Ketterman and Lublin said the two incidents earlier this school year, during which verbal and written racist slurs were used, had prompted “a promise to renew and strengthen our commitment to our school’s efforts in creating a learning environment that is reflective of our diversity, equity and inclusion focus” during this school year.
They said school leaders are taking action by forming a student government association that reflects the student population and using community groups to conduct lessons and discussions centering on diversity, equity and inclusion.
“As an administrative team, we do not take incidents of hate, bias or discrimination lightly,” they wrote. “We assure you that we are focusing our efforts on both the identification of the individual(s) behind this most recent incident, as well as our efforts to continue to ensure we are building and sustaining a community that is inclusive of all staff, students and families.”
Additionally, administrators promised to review the student code of conduct in classroom groups and emphasize the importance of “see/hear something, say something,” to remind students of ways they can help to ensure the school environment is safe and inclusive for all.
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These incidents come less than a year after a marquee sign with the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was vandalized outside another Howard County public school, Glenwood Middle. The word “Black” in the phrase was covered with spray paint on the sign.