This message was sent to NMS families and a copy was sent to district families on Apr. 1, 2022.
Dear Northfield Middle School Families:
We are writing today to share information about an incident that took place at NMS today. We prioritize a safe and supportive learning environment and this incident, while not widely viewed by students, can have an impact on that sense of a supportive environment.
Here are the facts as we know them:
- Students were making clay figures in art class for a stop motion video project.
- A student made a figure out of black clay that resembles a person with a white hat over the head of the clay figure. The hat could also appear to be a hood.
- After the stop motion video project had been completed, another student tied filament line, something that resembles clear fishing line, around the clay figure’s neck.
- Another student hung the figure over a ceiling light.
- A teacher noticed this quickly and immediately removed it. We estimate that the clay figure was hanging on the light for approximately three minutes. We do not believe that many, if any, other students saw the clay figure hanging from the light.
Hanging a black clay figure as described above can be easily viewed as a racist action. An investigation was conducted immediately. The students involved are being held accountable for their behavior with consequences outlined in our student citizenship handbook.
The Northfield School District is committed to a safe learning environment. A safe learning environment is unequivocally anti-racist. Like other schools and communities across the country, we have also been investigating reports of racist language this school year at NMS. These incidents demonstrate the need for continued focus on this vital work for our school and community culture.
This incident is upsetting and we wanted to be transparent with you about what took place. We will work to repair any harm that has resulted from this incident. Please contact Principal Gelineau with any specific questions or concerns about this situation and our continued efforts to make NMS a safe and supportive environment for every student.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools