View Full Version : All NYC Horace Mann Students Repeat Poet's Slurs to School's Dismay

11-06-2011, 10:25 PM
From N.Y. Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/05/nyregion/horace-mann-students-repeat-poets-slurs-to-schools-dismay.html) by Fernanda Santos:
The poetry assembly on Tuesday morning at the Horace Mann School, in the Bronx, was meant to be provocative. The visiting poets who led it asked students to write words on index cards — remembrances, colors and references to pop-culture icons — that would then converge as poems.

The poets had set the tone for the exercise by reading a poem they had written together, which uses startling, offensive language and has in its first three lines the harshest slurs against blacks and gays. The same slurs emerged on the cards, written by students in anonymity, then read out loud by peers who picked the cards at random from a pile stacked on a desk.

The reading went on uninterrupted for 30 minutes at least, one of the poets, Denise Duhamel, recalled in an interview on Friday. According to articles published on Friday in the school’s newspaper, The Horace Mann Record, it set off a mix of disconcerted laughter, confusion and, most of all, soul-searching among teachers and the 700 students in the audience at first, and then throughout the school.

By Tuesday afternoon, David Schiller, the head of the school’s upper division, had visited many classrooms, apologizing. Dr. Schiller declined to comment, beyond providing a letter he sent to parents on Thursday, in which he took the blame for what had happened.

“It was my responsibility to ensure that the presentation to our students was fitting and appropriate. It was not,” he wrote. “I should have intervened to stop the assembly, and I did not do so.”

read more>> (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/05/nyregion/horace-mann-students-repeat-poets-slurs-to-schools-dismay.html)

11-06-2011, 10:38 PM
Perspective from the school newspaper: