Officials say race a factor in assault of Oyster River School District studentBy KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent
September 13. 2017 12:14AM
DURHAM — An elementary school student in the Oyster River Cooperative School District was a victim of a racist assault on a school bus, according to officials.
James Morse, superintendent of the Oyster River Cooperative School District, says they are responding firmly after learning the boy was taunted by another male student using racial comments. The aggressor allegedly made unwanted physical contact with his victim, according to a statement issued by the district.
Durham police were notified of the Sept. 1 incident, according to the statement.
The statement says racial jokes have also been reported at the middle school.
“These issues have given me significant pause,” Morse said in the statement. “There is no room for racism, sexism, homophobia, or anti-Semitism in our schools. Incidents like this cannot simply be fixed with punishments. We need to look at how we treat each other and how we expect others to treat us as members of the same human community.”
Morse has reached out to the NAACP, the University of New Hampshire’s Office of Community, Equity and Diversity and the state of New Hampshire’s Office of Disproportionate Minority Contact for guidance. A multicultural forum and additional programs are being planned.
Morse said school district officials are reviewing policies on discrimination and student conduct.
“In the interest of transparency, we are bringing this information forward now to let the community know that these incidents did occur, and we are responding directly, and we are now taking actions to address the root cause of these types of acts,” Morse said. “The health, safety, and well-being of our students comes first. There is no place for intolerance in Oyster River.”