EDITORIAL: If this truly is the #1 school in New York, its leaders must condemn police brutality and act against it

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Across the country, people and organizations are being rightly scrutinized for their inability to condemn racism and police brutality after the killing of George Floyd. Last week, the Townsend Harris Alumni Association (THAA) drew intense criticism for releasing a statement that failed to mention the Black Lives Matter movement. THAA apologized for its first statement, but in both statements from THAA and in the sole communication students received from the school we have yet to see direct acknowledgement and discussion of the police brutality that perpetuates racial injustice across the country.

Above all, we have also yet to see a statement to the student body on these matters from Principal Brian Condon. 

The THAA showed that a lot can be said without saying much at all, so The Classic will be direct:

  1. There is no neutrality when it comes to state-sanctioned violence against Black people. In an attempt to remain apolitical to avoid biases about the situation, THAA blatantly disregarded a critical part of the problem. Refusing to name this is itself immoral.
  2. A police officer killed George Floyd. He is not the first Black American killed by police brutality. We need to say his name and all of the names of those who have died in the hands of the police. Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, and Breonna Taylor are a few of the many names that we could list. Failure to properly recognize the victims and the institution that has oppressed and murdered them contributes to perpetuating that oppression. 
  3. We appreciate calls to action for a more inclusive THHS. Such calls should be part of the conversation, but this current moment is about the role systemic racism plays in enabling and protecting police brutality in our own city and in our country.
  4. The principal should release a statement where he directly presents his administration’s stance on police brutality. He should also present a coordinated plan to educate our students in class about it, before school ends. Mr. Condon committed to having “courageous conversations” in response to the #notmytownsend group’s posts. This is the time for the courage to turn those conversations into actions. 
  5. If this is truly the #1 high school in New York, it should also be our responsibility to lead towards action and be transparent in the process. This open letter from alumni outlines actions the school could take that speak more to the present moment. Its specific suggestions deserve a response.  

Using our voice as the school newspaper, we will be watching and reporting how conversations and actions in response to police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement take place in the THHS community. 


Samantha Alzate, Editor-in-Chief

Isabelle Guillaume, Editor-in-Chief

Amanda Renzi, Editor-in-Chief

Nikki Ng, Managing Editor

Victoria Oei, Managing Editor

Samantha Sestak, Managing Editor

Ifeoluwa Adedokun, Opinion Editor

Julia Wojtkowski, News Editor

Julianna Zitron, News Editor

Amberly Khan, Opinion Editor

Ariana Vernon, Sports Editor

Abhinav Garg, Sports Editor

Kristen Zhou, Sports Editor

Victoria Kuzma, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Usha Sookai, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Jason Bacalla, Photograprahy Editor

Katrina Dydzuhn, Photography Editor

Joshua Vieira, Photography Editor

Victor Shemper, Layout Editor

Alexa Jude Tumulak, Layout Editor

Jacqueline Woo, Layout Editor

Ryla Pasaoa, Science & Technology Editor

Carly Hu, Features Editor

Amrin Rahman, Features Editor

Ava Nabatkhoran, Multimedia Editor