Alexandria, VA

Ashley Sanchez-Viafara, one of the student representatives on the Alexandria School Board, reported that she was called the n-word in an online forum discussing race in Alexandria City Public Schools.

The school system is in the renaming process for T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School, and the October 7 student forum was the second conversation on where ACPS stands in regard to racial issues.

The student was called the slur in a chat comment during the online conversation.

“I feel it’s necessary to address what occurred during the second student conversation, which was unacceptable and extremely hurtful,” Sanchez-Viafara told the School Board on Thursday. “We need to make tremendous changes within ACPS, because that was not acceptable, and no student should have to confront something as mentally and physically wounding as that.”

Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. said at the end of the meeting that ACPS must be relentless and unapologetic in getting the renaming work done.

“We have to stand tall, and we have to look past that and we have to understand that there are still some people out there that are just ignorant,” Hutchings told the Board.

Helen Lloyd, the ACPS executive director of communications, said that the comment was not made by a student, and that it was a person with a personal grievance against the school system.

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