WPHS students speak to Board of Ed. on racial tensions


Racial tensions at Wheeling Park High School leave people wanting the school board to take immediate action.

The topic was one of the main focuses of Thusrday night’s Ohio County Board of Education meeting.  The message from students, parents and concerned citizens effected by the alleged racism inside the school was simple, it’s 2018 and they shouldn’t have to fight this anymore.

“All they want, all we want is equal treatment,” said concerned Ohio County resident, Chad Stradwick Sr.

As the board listened on, students and relatives asked for some kind of change, “A significant racist culture at Wheeling Park High School, and it has been pushed aside for years,” said Wheeling Park High School student, Mary Prather.

That’s why a few students gave a detailed description of their first-hand experiences, and incidents, they’ve had to deal with while attending WPHS.

“I overheard a loud debate about whether black (expletive) or white (expletive) was better, phrased exactly that way,” Prather said. “The end mass decision was white (expletive) because black girls are disgusting and gross. Do you wanna know what happened next? Nothing.”

Another Wheeling Park student, Eldana Smith said, “Being called (expletive) in the hallways by strangers, mocking monkey noises, and even bullying online. Now, some people may not experience that type of prejudice. The 187 people of color are very probable to experience hate and injustice based on their melanin.”

Those who spoke say they’d like to see a change, and growth not only inside Wheeling Park, but throughout Ohio County.

“It’s not enough to be not racist, you have to be anti-racist. It’s not enough to say, ‘well it doesn’t affect me, so I’m not worried.’ You have to say, ‘this shouldn’t affect anyone, so I am worried,” Stradwick said.

A message Superintendent Dr. Kim Miller agreed with.

She said this is a change everyone’s going to have to work on together, “It’s dis-heartening to hear that our students are not comfortable in the environment for their education. So, we need to work on it and we’ll do it together. We’ll make things right and it will be an ongoing process.”

Smith ended by saying, “Our motto is ‘Experience the Park’, so lets make it a well-educated, successful experience instead of just a tolerable experience.” 

Dr. Miller continued to say they are planning meetings to keep communication open between the community, and they’re also looking into possibly posting a position on diversity to train students and faculty.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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