In October, Cherry Creek School District, the second largest school district in Wisconsin, cancelled classes for the next two weeks in an effort to restore “school spirit” following a rash of recent suspensions.
The district announced in late October that it would be suspending all students in grades K-3 until May 31.
Many parents of Cherry Creek students, who are predominately white and middle-class, have taken to social media to voice their anger at the district’s actions, which were reportedly motivated by the school’s “toxic” and “racist” student body.
On Twitter, one person said the suspension was a result of a “racist culture” that “forces white students to participate in ‘school culture.'”
Another tweeted, “We will not be bullied anymore!
The students are not being punished!”
Many students have shared their frustration on social media, writing that they “cannot continue to teach their own children at Cherry Creek, despite the students’ best efforts.”
In a statement to the Mercury News, the Cherry Creek school district said the cancellation was “due to the extreme circumstances of our student body” and said it will continue to meet with parents to “help address the issues” surrounding suspensions.
However, the school district has yet to release any official numbers on how many students are being suspended.
In an interview with local news station WTMJ, Cherry Falls police Chief Rick Johnson said that he has received calls from parents who were concerned about the school system’s decision to cancel classes.
“We have received multiple calls, we’ve had some people who have actually called to tell us that they’re not satisfied with our response,” Johnson said.
“They’re upset that we haven’t been able to provide information, or that we’ve said that they weren’t given enough information.”
He added that the school will be reopening on May 5.
The Cherry Creek suspension follows an earlier cancellation of classes in late September that led to a backlash.
According to The Associated Press, students at the school canceled classes and canceled class trips after the school received multiple complaints about the behavior of a number of students.
According a press release from the school, students and faculty have been discussing the “toxicity” of “school culture” and the need for students to work with other students to find a solution.
Cherry Creek Principal Greg Loomis defended the suspension as a “tough decision” that would have “a huge impact on our students.”
“The safety of our students, students in the community and students in general is our primary concern,” Loomas said in the press release.
“While the district may not have a perfect track record with this issue, we are doing our best to support students in our community.”
Loomhas also defended the school board’s decision not to allow students to bring their own lunch.
“In my mind, that is not a difficult decision to make,” he said.
In October 2015, more than 100 students walked out of Cherry Falls High School to protest the school administration’s suspension of the entire student body over racial tensions.
Cherry Falls was one of several schools in Wisconsin that suspended students for a week in response to the protests, which began at the end of September.