MHS Update: SnapChat and Hate Speech

MHS Update: SnapChat and Hate Speech
Posted on 09/01/2020

Message from: Superintendent of Schools Jill Gierasch, and Mattituck Jr./Sr. High School Principal Shawn Petretti

It has been brought to our attention that a Mattituck High School student posted a Snap Chat message on social media that was highly offensive and totally unacceptable. The child’s social media account, in which the message originated, was not the author of the message nor was she aware the message was distributed. Upon receiving this information, the district immediately began an internal investigation of the situation and contacted the Southold Police Department. The Police Department has reached out to the students and parents directly involved and will be reporting back to the district with any necessary next steps.

This behavior does not represent who we are as a school district or a community. Our students are educated in an environment that celebrates diversity and teaches our children to be accepting and respectful towards others. As a district, we are mindful to lead by example and encourage our students to embrace our differences as well as our similarities.

As the reopening of schools is upon us, we recognize we continue to need to have conversations with students and provide purposeful programs that can bring these issues to the forefront so they can be addressed accordingly. Our High School Principal, Shawn Petretti, will address the issues of equity and acceptance with our students. He also plans to work with our PTSA to bring in professional speakers to support our local efforts. It will continue to be reinforced, throughout the school year, as part of our curriculum in several subject areas. Additionally, we will also continue to remind our students of the proper protocol that is expected of them when using social media and to be aware of their digital footprint.

We are pleased many of our students and parents reached out to administration to express concern and disgust as well as support for our efforts to eradicate this type of hate speech. Our goal is to ensure that our students learn how to use their voices and can stand up for equity, diversity and social justice.