More community meetings planned over Hillcrest High School concerns

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 10:52 AM CST
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TUCALOOSA COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Concerns from some students and adults about Hillcrest High School have lead to more community meetings in Tuscaloosa County.

Many people off-campus learned about the issues after hundreds of students staged a walk-out earlier this month. WBRC talked with people who feel there’s a lack of understanding and transparency from administrators at Hillcrest High School and the Tuscaloosa County School Board when it comes to concerns from black students and their supporters.

See video of the walk-out here:

A group of students, parents, elected leaders and civil rights groups met recently and came up with several suggestions it plans to act on. This comes after many of them feel the mistreatment of black students and a directive not to include moments in black history before 1970 in an upcoming student black history program led to a student walk out nearly two weeks ago.

Tuscaloosa County Schools met with students in small groups and with the President of the Tuscaloosa NAACP Branch before this last community meeting. Those who attended still weren’t satisfied with the school system’s response. “We have tried to reach out and let them know that there’s a problem. That as a student body we’re hurting, and we’re tired of hurting. We just want the freedom to express ourselves because this is our black culture, and it empowers us,” explained Jamiyah Brown, a Hillcrest High School senior who helped organize the walk out. “There’s a culture of racial insensitivity. There’s a lack of diversity amongst their leadership. And there’s some aggression towards students who are students of color,” expressed Lisa Young, the Tuscaloosa NAACP Branch President.

They’ve decided to gather more information about Hillcrest concerns and give it to Tuscaloosa County School officials and others. The group also wants to use a Department of Justice mediator as an objective person in the room when it meets again with school officials.

The student-organized Black History Month program at Hillcrest High School is scheduled for Wednesday, at 9 a.m.

In an earlier statement the school system says it supports our students in expressing themselves, and including all parts of history.

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