Letter to the Editor: A letter to Dr. Barbara Sargent

parsippany focus

parsippany focusDear Editor: 

Good evening Dr. Sargent,

My name is Olivia Johnson and I am a senior at Parsippany High School. I am writing to you in regards to the BOE’s refusal to allow the peaceful Black Lives Matter protest to start on Parsippany High School’s grounds. As a black student here in the district, I can tell you first hand that you and all of the schools I have been through in this district have done very little for your black students.

There has habitually been little to no support for your black students whether it be during Black History Month, during traumatic tragedies such as the brutal murder of George Floyd, or outright and blatant racism by the student body. I am writing to tell you that we are tired of seeing little to no allyship on behalf of the BOE.

People are simply asking to gather on school grounds because it is a central location in Parsippany. No one is going to damage property or incite violence. What about protesting police brutality and speaking up for the Black Lives Matter movement is inherently violent and riot-inducing to you? There are plenty of peaceful protests all throughout the country, especially in New Jersey, that has been going on for the past few days.

The people of Parsippany and neighboring towns are seeking to exercise their freedom to assemble and freedom to speak up for what they believe. Your choice to prohibit us from using Parsippany High School as the starting point for a powerful and meaningful demonstration, especially to your black student body, is very telling of where your interests and care reside. Please reconsider this decision.

Thank you,
Olivia Johnson