Mount Greylock “Recommits” to Partnership with the ADL Following Racist Zoom Incident


Photo Courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League

On January 21st, a racist incident occurred during a Zoom class. Following the incident, the administration sent out a school-wide email detailing the event. You can read the full incident report here, as well as the most recent findings of the police investigation

In these emails from Principal Schutz, Vice Principal Shebar and Superintendent Jason McCandless, the administration said that Mount Greylock willengage in restorative work.” Following these emails, there has been talk of different discussions to help students feel their school is safe. 

In one of these emails, Schutz and Shebar said that, “Mount Greylock will be recommitting to its partnership with the Anti-Defamation League to bring the World of Difference program back to our school.” But what exactly is the Anti-Defamation League?

The Anti-Defamation League is a league of people that work to fight against hate. It originally focused on fighting against anti-semmetic crimes, but since it’s creation in 1913, it has taken up the responsibility of fighting for justice and fair treatment for all. They have many programs that collaborate with schools, universities, law enforcement agencies, and community organizations. Although most know them as fighting for racial and cultural issues, the ADL also fights for LGBTQ+ rights voting rights, women’s rights, and immigrant and refugee rights. McCandless has worked with the ADL since before it was introduced to Mount Greylock. 

Mount Greylock has been working with the ADL’s World Difference Program for about 3 years now. Two years ago, the Peer Team underwent training with this program, and last year 7th and 8th graders participated in the program during their directed study times. This program’s main focuses are: “Recognizing bias and the harm it inflicts on individuals and society, building an understanding of the value and benefits of diversity, improving intergroup relations, and confronting racism, anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry.” 

While Mt. Greylock never stopped their partnership with this organization, it has put its workshops to the side in order to work with the Elizabeth Freeman Center located in Pittsfield. 

Even before the racist incident occurred, Mount Greylock has been planning on holding workshops and discussions to build a more diverse school. In the School Improvement Plan, Mount Greylock says it plans to “seek input from and collaboration with interested MGRS groups to promote evolution of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Goals,” throughout the school year. Some of these collaborations would be with the Multicultural Student Union, the Gender Sexuality Alliance, the Elizabeth Freeman Center, and the School Council. 

In reviewing this School Improvement Plan, few events that were planned for the fall of 2020 have taken place. But, the Multicultural Student Union has some events they are planning to host to help students understand the hidden racism that sits in Mount Greylock.