Is Providence’s Classical High School in “Crisis”?

Monday, December 18, 2017


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Classical High School

Just weeks after a Classical High School parent questioned a teacher allegedly sleeping in class, students at the award-winning Providence high school have begun an Instagram page to vent their concerns about what they say are a myriad of issues facing Classical. 

The Instagram page, #ClassicalCrisis, contains posts that call out teachers by name for alleged incidents pertaining to issues of race, sexuality, health, and more -- by some accounts with names, while others remain anonymous 

See the Instagram Page HERE

"There are many issues facing Classical, to be perfectly honest," said page administrator, Classical Senior Alana Thompson. "To put it roughly, there is a lot of racism, transphobia, homophobia, and general bigotry that bleeds through at all levels including the teachers and [sic] admin. They have also blackmailed multiple students, they are complacent in the occurrence of sexual harassment and assault, in addition to allowing bullying to continue and escalate, and punishments will occur (or not occur, for that matter) depending on how much they like someone as a person or how good their grades are. They will also give punishments that extend outside of the law, such as holding someone in detention for longer than the legal time allotted. They have also ignored students’ pleas not to call their parents because they are abusive."

"As far as education and academics go, many of the teachers are incompetent and have been complained about for years by many students. It should not take a parent going directly to the Providence Public School Department to handle a teacher; yet it does, however, and this only takes care of one out of the mass of inadequacy," added Thompson. 

School System, Students Respond 

Laura Hart with the Providence Public Schools Department responded to request for comment on the page, addressing solely the issue of transgender policy at the schools. 

"We have a number of students at Classical High School who identify as transgender. In Providence, we have implemented a Transgender and Gender Expansive Student Policy that honors all students’ preferences and protects their rights," said Hart. "Classical High School has made a number of accommodations for students, including creating a gender-neutral changing room, offering bathroom choice and adapting class rosters to preferred names. We have a transgender policy school-based team that includes our school nurse, director guidance, student assistant counselor and appropriate administrator (depending on student grade level) that works with students, their teachers and student families to assist with issues surrounding both gender identity and transition. Additionally, our school assistance counselor hosts an active, peer support group specific to transgender students at Classical."

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"While we cannot speak about any particular student’s situation due to privacy laws, we can say that whenever we receive reports of a student who shows symptoms of emotional distress, we do school-based outreach and, if necessary, make referrals to outside services," added Hart.

Another of the #ClassicalCrisis page contributors, Tobias Nicholas, however, spoke to the #ClassicalCrisis page -- and the response from the school. 

"First off, we now know that at least one administrator is going through our profile. Beth Battey, one of the assistant principals, liked and unliked my post about how she blackmailed me for being transgender last year," said Nicholas. "We don't really know how to feel about this, since neither of us are really threatened by them finding out. But it's important to know that information, in my opinion."

"I also want to make sure that [people] know that Classical has covered up sexual assault multiple times. Teachers have commented sexually on students, as you can see on our page. I've also had plenty of experiences of them pretending to forget that my parents have sexually and physically abused me, and then threatening to call my parents and tell them I'm being disobedient by complaining about it when i continued with my stories. They found out my friend was raped and then purposefully implied that if they told anyone, the school would call their abusive mom about it. There was a student who had stalked me and asked me for sexual favors, and after I had rejected him he started ripping up my homework and spreading rumors that I had sex with him. After coming out as transgender, he would scream my birth name whenever he saw me in the hallways. The school never did anything about it, even after I reported it three times," said Nicholas. "Sexual assault is so bad there that I know of three instances of rape in one room, one of those instances involving me as a victim. The school knows about all of them and doesn't care."

Classical High School Principal Scott Barr -- who was contacted regarding the "sleeping teacher" allegations -- once again did not respond to request for comment, this time when asked about the #ClassicalCrisis page.


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