CLAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A few days following the release of a controversial letter sent to Northwood Elementary School parents, school official held a Town Hall meeting to hear concerns.

About 40 parents of black and African-American students received a survey with the question: “What do you wish white teachers at Northwood knew about teaching your black child.”

Northwood Elementary School principal, Sally Moore, addressed the crowd Wednesday night and apologized for the wording in the letter.

She also said that she hoped the survey would start discussions and help build relationships.

Some parents shared what upset and bothered them about the wording and the survey.

“It could have been posed as ‘How can we assist your child? How can we integrate your culture into our educational program?,” said Marchelle Hopson, a parent of a Northmont School District student.

Leaders with Equity Fellows, a grant given to the school to address racial disparities in the classroom, say the survey was given as a part of the program. A coach also shared that she had sent a similar letter to middle school students, and did not receive similar backlassh.

Equity Fellows Coach Michael Carter, who is also the Chief Diversity Officer at Sinclair Community College was at the Town Hall to address the matters of race, diversity and equity.

“We need to listen to our parents,” said Carter. “We need to hear them and we need to process that and then move forward in continuing to support them and their students.”
Parents in attendance at the meeting shared how they believed the school district and school officials could help the community move forward in addressing these issues and helping students.

“I think that when we have town hall meetings and things of that nature…the leadership, the hiring authorities, the superintendent the principals…those individuals need to be present in order to make real change,” shared Dwain Stanford, a parent of Northmont students.

“In order to bridge that gap [Principal Moore] really needed to say ‘Hey we made a mistake by sending that letter out.’ and now we can move forward,” said Hopson.

Equity Fellows leaders and Northmont School District officials say they are also working to develop focus groups for parents, students and the greater community to move forward after this situation.