A middle school in Massachusetts offered “safe spaces” to students following the verdicts for both Kyle Rittenhouse and the Ahmaud Arbery cases.
Bigelow Middle School in Newton, Massachusetts sent out a “midweek update” on Dec. 1 to families of students at the school, which directs them to review a letter detailing “safe space choices” for students.
The letter details three separate “safe spaces” that were held on Dec. 2 responding to the verdicts for both Kyle Rittenhouse and the Ahmaud Arbery murder, with one of them being for “Students of Color.” It also encouraged parents to discuss the safe space choices with their students.
Students had an option to attend their advisory class-period as usual, or pick from one of three “safe spaces” after watching a video from the school’s principal, Chassity Coston, addressing both cases.
Bigelow Middle School in Massachusetts (Google Maps) (Google Maps)
“Reactions to Verdicts: Hearing and learning from peers,” “Rumor Control Room: Facts presented in cases, today’s laws, and final verdicts,” and “Questions & Discussion for Students of Color” were all listed as “safe spaces” for students.
“Come together with other Bigelow students of color to process and get answers to any questions you have regarding these two cases,” reads one of the safe space descriptions.
The letter states that the Rittenhouse and Arbery cases are “both sensitive topics with many layers of political, racial, and social concerns.”
“Regardless of those concerns, the Kyle Rittenhouse conclusion will likely be seen as yet another unfair reality for many Bigelow families, staff, and students—particularly our community members of color, while the Ahmaud Arbery conclusion may be seen as a glimpse of hope and justice,” the letter reads.
The school’s principal stated in the letter that the school has a responsibility to “address the impact” of both situations with students.
Kyle Rittenhouse walks during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., November 19, 2021. Sean Krajacic/Pool via REUTERS (Sean Krajacic/Pool via REUTERS)
“Bigelow has a responsibility to address the impact of both situations, and to make sure that you as students are educated on real-world topics to prepare you for life after Bigelow,” Coston wrote.
Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges against him as jurors finished deliberations on Nov. 19. He faced charges after fatally shooting two people and shooting and injuring a third man during the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 25, 2020.
Travis McMichael, his father Greg, and William “Roddie” Bryan were all found guilty of felony murder in the Ahmaud Arbery case on Nov. 24.
A spokesperson for the Newton Public Schools told Fox News that the letter was sent out to families of students at the school and defended their usage of the “safe spaces.”
“When these types of national events occur, we provide our staff with the support they need to navigate these challenging conversations, as well as the space they may need to process the event themselves. We fully support our schools’ efforts to create space and support for all of our students and staff members and are grateful that we have school leaders who are committed to engaging in this important work,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that students needed space to process the outcomes of both the Kyle Rittenhouse and the Ahmaud Arbery cases.
“We know that students experience events differently and it is our responsibility to not overlook the impact and harm on all community members, including those who are traditionally marginalized, such as people of color. In this particular case, we acknowledge the need for students to learn more about the context of the case and to provide space for them to process and discuss it.