2002-05-04 / Letters

Gassaway Is No Racist!

Gassaway Is No Racist!

Dear Editor;

The students of Beach Channel High School submitted this letter. A petition signed by 185 students accompanied it.

The students at Beach Channel High School would like the opportunity to respond to the recent article in The Wave. The article suggests that our principal Mr. Bernard Gassaway is a racist. How much more can we take? We began our school year by witnessing the destruction of the Twin Towers. One month later our community was faced with another traumatic experience. The plane crash in Belle Harbor rocked the Rockaway community.

The author of the article focused on the allegation made by an anonymous individual. The students believe that this cowardly act did not give our principal the opportunity to defend himself against the charge of racism. This attack on Mr. Gassaway is also an attack on Beach Channel Students. The atmosphere that has been created by Mr. Gassaway provides the students with a safe and secure environment that is conducive to learning. This was not the case prior to his arrival as principal. The only reason many of us are at Beach Channel is because of the way the school has been restructured under the leadership of the present principal.

Beach Channel High School is unique in many ways. There is a wide range of cultural diversity among students and staff members. Several teachers at BCHS also have children attending the school. How many of those teachers would allow their children to attend such a place if racism was a factor? Thanks to Mr. Gassaway Beach Channel is truly a community school. The annual Thanksgiving dinners held at Beach Channel, the free Friday afternoon movies, and the Saturday computer classes offered to senior citizens of our community are just a few of the programs initiated by the principal. Are these the actions of a racist? Beach Channel High School Students would like to put an end to the he-said she said at our school.

We would like to complete our school year not as it began with the loss of so many innocent lives. We want the opportunity to focus on successfully completing the school year by passing our required classes and tests needed to move to the next grade. Many of us will be graduating in less than two months. Don't stain our memories at BCHS by attacking the principal. We would like to take the opportunity to show our support to a caring individual that has been much more to us than a principal. Mentor, leader, and confidant, are just a few of the superlatives that describe the character of Mr. Gassaway. We feel as though we are very fortunate to have Mr. Gassaway as principal of our school.

STUDENTS OF BEACH CHANNEL HIGH SCHOOL

KRISTOFFER IRVING

(Senior Class President)


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