Parents and community members brought their anger, confusion and determination to a meeting at Quincy High School on Monday night to address how to respond to a series of racial incidents that led to last week's student walkout.
One of the incidents was a student-made rap song that included racist and sexist language. The other was a video that a white student at the high school made several years ago, while they were in seventh grade. In the video, the student allegedly uses racist language against Black people, including the n-word.
On Friday, students walked out in protest of the videos and the school's response. Kate Campbell, co-president of the Quincy Citywide Parent Teacher Organization and parent of two Quincy High students, told GBH News on Sunday that emotions had been building up long before the walkout.
“For students, it was a culmination of feeling unheard for a long time,” she said. “Feeling like the climate and the culture in the high school was untenable for a large part of the population in the high school.”
The incidents and student walkout both hung over Monday's meeting, where participants broke out into smaller groups to talk about next steps before meeting in a larger group with Quincy Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Mulvey.
The meeting became contentious at times when school and district administrators spoke, with some attendees demanding immediate answers as to what the next steps will be and grilling Quincy High Principal Lawrence Taglieri about the school's response to the videos.
Several attendees walked out during Taglieri’s remarks, calling them “lip service.”
Mulvey said the district would use information gathered at Monday's meeting, along with data collected previously from parent focus groups and surveys, to assess concerns and create responses.
“We intend to identify areas we can move on immediately, which we will do,” he said. “The mayor is in full support of that, the school committee is in full support of that, and we will move as quickly as possible and — I said in there tonight — immediately to make some of these changes that they have identified.”
But Larry Brown and Pauline Russell-Brown, who have two children who attend Quincy High, pointed out that any solutions won’t come quickly.
“This ain’t gonna happen overnight. It’s just not,” Brown said.
Still, Russell-Brown said Monday's meeting was a start.
“There’s definitely a long, long road,” she said. “It’s gonna take a lot of, lot of people. A lot of people who weren’t here, unfortunately. I believe that all the people that attended tonight, they want to be part of the solution, you know what I mean? It’s just unfortunate that the people who … keep this issue going, they’re not here and they’re not listening. So we need to be more vocal, more visible, more diligent.”