Race Issues Boil Over at Chicago Private School

A group of minority students who attend Chicago’s St. Ignatius College Preparatory Academy held a protest in opposition of what they refer to as racially insensitive treatment by members of the school. The action, in addition to a letter written to administrators pointing out acts of bigotry on campus, has sparked a debate among students and social media debate.

The students held a silent protest last week in the exclusive private school’s cafeteria and as a result, wider conversation among students, alumni and school administrators about the institution’s racial climate has emerged.

Roughly 40 students dressed in black gathered at a long table to eat lunch in silence on Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Their goal was to “reject the deeply embedded and shameful culture of oppression” prevalent at the school. The protesters also delivered a letter detailing grievances to school administrators.

“The school leadership will be meeting with the students who authored the letter at the end of this week, and we are already in discussion with some students and other members of the Saint Ignatius College Prep community,” said a statement posted on the school’s website. “It is the school’s intent to work on addressing these issues in a manner that is consistent with our Catholic, Jesuit values.”

Members of the Black Organization of Successful Students, along with other protesters encouraged students and alumni to weigh in with experiences they had at St. Ignatius via social media under the #beingPOCatignatius hashtag.

Several students said they had heard the N-word used in the school’s hallways by white students. One Black student claims to have requested from a teacher to discontinue use of the offensive term in class.

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