An attempt to fire up the football team and the student body lead to one Southern Tier school district making national headlines for the wrong reasons. As our Bill Mich explains, three students performed a skit during a pep rally dressed in blackface and depicting a very public domestic violence incident.
WAVERLY, N.Y. -- A CNN iReport article posted Monday by Waverly graduate Matthew Dishler has now gained well over 60,000 views. It describes a controversial scene at Friday's pep rally. Three students dressed in blackface acted out a skit that depicted the beating of singer Rhianna by hip hop artist Chris Brown. While the scene was meant to be funny, the subject is something many say cannot be taken lightly.
"The effect of engaging in such a skit for a humorous purpose effectively silences victims and gives permission to people to continue to cause harm to people that they claim that they love," said Francis Bialy, the Assistant Director at A New Hope Center.
Tuesday, Waverly's superintendent met with district administration, as well as students, to decide on what action, if any, to take following the incident. Currently, the school is working with A New Hope Center in Owego on the issues of bullying. That organization also handles domestic violence and crisis intervention cases. The Waverly district has now contacted the center again for potential ways to use this incident as a teachable moment in the near future.
"There are structural things that can take place to help reduce the possibility of these types of things happening, as well as encourage a different atmosphere that people wouldn't even think to do these kinds of things," said Bialy.
Superintendent Yelich also added that in the future, student run skits and demonstrations would require district approval before being put on display.