Shedding light on students of color

May 24, 2022

In recent months, Wahlert Catholic has seen back-to-back allegations of racist conduct against the student body. During a December girls’ basketball game, members of the opposing Waterloo East team accused the Nest participants of shouting racial slurs at the players.

In March, Wahlert parents held a meeting with the school board after a series of racist behavior occurred towards a student that resulted in him leaving Wahlert. At the meeting, the parents and some students spoke on what policy changes were crucial in order to prevent further problems for students of color in the school.

Furthermore, Holy Family released statements apologizing towards the students of Waterloo East and promising to do better when handling racism in the school.

The Holy Family school system claims to be taking these allegations seriously, but how do Wahlert’s own students of color feel their school has been handling the recent controversies? Marina Hishikawa and Marco Morel, ‘22, believe that there is still significant change needed.

“It’s always been an elephant in the room. An incident would happen, and Wahlert would kind of brush it under the rug,” says Hishikawa.

Morel agrees, saying that it was disheartening to see one aspect of Wahlert represent the entire school because of a seemingly poor mishandling.

In terms of what the school does moving forward, both Morel and Hishikawa agree that there should be some sort of class that educates students on all levels of the Holy Family school system on racism.

“I want to see some kind of mandatory freshman class that is required of any enrolled student that talks to them about issues not only regarding race and sexuality, but also house and home life,” says Morel. He further explains the importance of educating students on the many life experiences that differ from a Caucasian, two- parent, middle-class home life that the majority of Wahlert students are familiar with.

Hishikawa agrees, also emphasizing the need for greater education on race in middle school. “They’re not oblivious elementary students, but they don’t have set opinions yet, like in high school,” Hishikawa says.

Aidan Dolan, ‘23, like Morel and Hishikawa, is ready to see change in the Holy Family school system. Dolan feels that when restrictions are placed on what can be discussed and controversies are silenced quickly, it only creates a more dangerous environment for students of color. Hoping to see great change in the near future, he jokes, “We should be able to walk through the halls and think, dang, I’m mocha baby!”

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