Protesters gather to denounce alleged racism at Masterman School

A large group of protesters comprised of educators, teachers and alumni of J.R. Masterman converged in Center City on Sunday to call for administrative change following allegations of racism at the school.

The Educators and Students for Black Lives demonstration marched from City Hall to the Philadelphia School District headquarters at 11 a.m.

They were joined by a contingent of J.R. Masterman middle and high school alumni, students, teachers, and supporters who continued to march from the school district headquarters to J.R. Masterman on the 1600 block of Spring Garden Street.

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“We’re here today because Masterman harms its Black students," organizers said in a statement. "It’s really important to recognize that Black students at Masterman have been oppressed and silenced through threats, blackmail and manipulation."

According to the group, an outpouring of social media posts have "revealed a pattern of discriminatory and racist treatment toward students and potential applicants at Masterman." The group also alleges similar inflammatory posts at Central High School and other Philadelphia magnet schools.

Instagram account @BlackAtMasterman is said to feature more than 150 posts of alleged racism by Masterman faculty, staff, administration, and fellow students. Students past and present claim their complaints have gone ignored or unaddressed.

Organizers say the Masterman, a top-ranked school in Pennsylvania and a nationally recognized institute, has not lived up to their mission statement which describes the school as being a multi-cultural welcoming community for students.

“We’d like to see the school change the way it handles recruitment and retention of Black students in the high school, a standardization of disciplinary procedures to address the disproportionate punishment of Black students, and disciplinary procedures for racist incidents for both teachers and students,” 2020 grab Kayla Gibson said.


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