PARENTS are in a tumult after elite All-girls school Brearley was accused of racism on Instagram via @Blackatbrearley’s account.
The account is titled, “For all Black folks, past and present, who the Brearley School never let belong. These are our stories. ” Private Upper East Side school school Brearley has around 700 students and is considered one of the most prestigious schools in the city, with tuition over $ 35,000, and financial aid available.
Posts on the account include, “A white student once told me the reason my skin was so dark was because I started to clean myself.” Another reads, “In the 5th Grade, when we were talking about slavery, a white girl asked why slaves just ran away because Africans could run so fast.” Yet another post states, “When I was in 7th grade, a white student called me and another black student monkeys.” Plus, one post said to be from a parent of a girl named Mehitabel in the lower school reads, “My daughter has come out of every race-related discussion at Brearley feeling scared and ashamed of her blackness.”
Other posts allege that Stephanie J. Hull, Ph.D., Brearley’s “first and only black head of school” was “forced. . . to resign. ” It wasn’t clear if Hull was forced to leave, but she did abruptly resign in 2011. It is also not clear who’s posting the stories, which are anonymous.
While the account has just 42 posts, it has nearly 2,000 followers, including writers Molly Jong-Fast and Genevieve Angelson, plus Town & Country digital director Elizabeth Angell and StyleCaster’s Justine Goodman.
One parent told us, “This is something that is happening at all elite Manhattan schools. It’s not about the alumnae, but concerns the lack of diversity in the administration and teaching staff. “
Head of School Jane Foley Fried said, “We are carefully reading and listening to all the comments from our community. We greatly respect and appreciate the courage and candor of our Black alumnae and students who are sharing their experiences. The racist behavior they have described is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated in any part of our community. We are deeply sorry for the pain they have experienced at Brearley. We are already engaged in community conversations about what we will do differently beginning this summer.
“Following the heart-wrenching death of George Floyd and the ensuing calls for justice around the world, we met by grade in Classes V-XII and by homeroom in Lower School. We have convened faculty and staff to discuss anti-Black racism. We also have met with parents of students of color to hear their concerns and are planning a follow-up meeting with them as well. We have widely distributed to our faculty and staff our students’ concerns and a link to the Black at Brearley site. We have also reached out to the creators of the Instagram account to speak directly with them.
“We are dedicated to working with our entire community to create an anti-racist environment.”