DOVER — As a racially charged academic year ends at Dover High School, the president of Seacoast NAACP says not enough has been done to restore race relations.
The high school made national headlines when a teacher allowed students to sing a KKK-themed parody of “Jingle Bells” this past November. It was videotaped by student Chloe Harris who was offended by the lyrics and posted the video online.
John Carver, who taught social studies and was the school’s baseball coach, was placed on paid administrative leave and ordered to receive one-on-one mentoring on racism, bias and privilege.
Carver is expected to return to the classroom in September and Rogers Johnson of Seacoast NAACP said Tuesday that that is problematic for minority students he has spoken to because Carver has never publicly apologized for his actions.
“John Carver has never apologized on the issue or spoken of his remorsefulness for what he’s done. How can you have restorative justice when the individual has never admitted they made a mistake?” Johnson asked.
Johnson said simply allowing Carver to go back to work shows students at Dover High School that nothing will change.
“He gets to come back as if nothing has happened. If you’re a minority student, how does that make you feel?” Johnson added.
School Superintendent William Harbron shared with the New Hampshire Union Leader on Tuesday afternoon a report of what the district has done to improve race relations. He said it was issued to members of the school board on Monday.
The report says that in addition to staff trainings on white privilege, racism, prejudice and bias, the district’s leadership team met with Phil Fogelman, director of the Anti-Defamation League for the New England region, to learn about the services it could provide.
The district has also partnered with the U.S. Department of Education’s Center for Education Equality to develop a long-term plan to address white privilege, racism, prejudice and bias.
School officials are working to implement a School SPIRIT program at Dover High School in the 2019-20 academic year, according to the report.
The report concludes by saying school district officials recognize that to be successful in their efforts they need a dedicated position to lead and coordinate the work. They are contracting with Great Schools Partnership to contract a person.
The contract will be for 80 days at a cost of $88,000, which is funded by a Title IV grant and funds through special education.
Harbron did not answer questions related to whether Carver has completed his one-on-one mentoring, whether he would be the baseball coach next spring, or the capacity in which he would be returning to the classroom.
Dover’s class of 2019 graduates Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Whittemore Center at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.