Upper School Segregation Day
By Toni Michelsen
The Upper School and the Multicultural Alliance are hosting Segregation Day, Monday, February 23. Segregation Day involves arbitrarily segregating Upper School students into two groups--a 'majority' group and a 'minority' group during the course of one school day. The purpose of this exercise is to provide a 'safe' way for students to experience firsthand the unfairness and hurtful nature of segregation and to help them understand what it is like to be discriminated against. It is important to note that everyone is expected to treat one another with respect and no one is to mistreat or bully others during the day's exercise.
Q&A sessions will be held on Tuesday, February 24 during extended
advisor groups. Students will explore how stereotypes and biases
develop and become self-perpetuating, as well as process their
experiences from Monday. Juniors and seniors who have been trained in
Dialogue [Dialogue is a foundational communication process in which
student leaders have been trained], will work as student facilitators
in each advisor groups during the Q&A sessions.
The idea for this exercise originated with Severn senior, Saakirah Vester. Since September, she has worked diligently with Upper School Head Highley Thompson, the Multicultural Alliance, and the club's advisors to make this exercise become a reality in the Upper School.
If any parent is opposed to the idea of their student's participation in this exercise, his/her child can be excused.
Guidelines for the Day
Segregation Day will begin first thing Monday, February 23, during
homeroom with advisors handing out either the green or orange
identifying bracelets to their advisees, including themselves in the
exercise. The advisors will read the rules for the day to the group.
There will be two groups representing the majority group and the
minority group: the green and the orange group. The Upper School
student body and faculty will be divided evenly and randomly into one
of these two groups and given the appropriate color bracelet to
indicate their membership.
There will be designated areas around the school that will be marked
with either green or orange poster boards. Students and faculty will
use those areas depending on the color of their wristband (i.e., the
main stairwell of Creeden Hall or the back stairwell of Creeden Hall,