Douglas Anderson email: ‘Cultural meetings’ to be split for ‘students of color’ & ‘white students’

Email to parents says meetings are ‘to ensure that DA truly is a place for all’

An email from a local high school sparks outrage among students and parents. Douglas Anderson High School of the Arts sent out an email about two meetings among students who would be separated by race. News4Jax reporter Erik Avanier has been out talking to families about this. He joins us LIVE from Douglas Anderson

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Several parents of students at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts told News4Jax on Tuesday they received an email informing them of upcoming student meetings to discuss “cultural issues that have arisen” at the school.

UPDATE: Segregated meetings at Douglas Anderson canceled after ‘dismay’ from parents, school district

The email that was sent to DA families with the subject line “Student Cultural Meetings” was addressed from Melanie Hammer, the school’s principal. It states that two student meetings are planned for Thursday, and that the meetings are to “ensure that DA is truly a place for all.”

The email states one meeting will be for “students of color” and that the other will be for “white students.” It also reads “By working together, we can all create the best DA.”

It reads in full:

News4Jax spoke with a student and her parent, who received the email.

“Over the last year, there has been tons of attention that has been drawn to the racial divide and tension at Douglas Anderson and there were efforts made to try and pull things together, mend wounds and improve relationships. But, when I saw the memo, I couldn’t believe it. It was like we took a step back,” said LaToya Gunn, a parent.

Her daughter, T’Aisa, who is a student, said students at the school “use the N-word.” News4Jax was unable to independently verify what the student said Tuesday evening.

Tuesday night, a second email addressed from Hammer was sent out to families, saying that may people have been asking questions about why two separate meetings were scheduled.

That email, with the subject line “Culture Meeting Follow Up,” reads:

News4Jax has requested additional comment from three spokespersons for the Duval County School District, as well as Hammer. Our requests were not immediately returned Tuesday night.

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