Recently, residents in Pittsford have discovered racially charged fliers in their yards and driveways – and the distribution hasn’t stopped.
Now, the fliers have landed in the hands of children – and Pittsford schools are stepping in.
Last week, News 8 reported one neighborhood in Pittsford was the target of these small strips of white paper that say “Make Rochester Great Again” and link to a website that promotes white supremacy.
Now, it’s grown to three neighborhoods, and the message has found itself inside Pittsford schools.
“At this point, I am both frustrated and a little bit disheartened,” said Superintendent Mike Pero. “But at the same time, feel very proud to be in a district that is ready to be proactive in helping the town and parents work through this.”
A couple of students in Pittsford schools stepped forward to inform a teacher that they found these racially charged fliers in their yards.
“This is an incident and what we do on a daily basis should combat the hatred that was attached to whomever is responsible for this,” Pero said.
Pittsford schools say they implement diversity within their classes on a day-to-day basis, and Pero says this occurrence is not a reflection of what goes on inside his schools.
“What I see every day in here is so contradictory of what was placed on the driveways of some of the families,” he said. “So when we teach diversity, respect, and social emotional support and self-worth – and juxtaposed to what’s on a slip of paper that’s dividing a community, it is surprising. It’s more than surprising, it’s very disheartening.”
Pero says members of the community will participate in a unity walk to demonstrate their commitment to diversity.
In a statement sent to the district, Pero said, “The Pittsford Central School District values and celebrates diversity all year long in our classrooms at every level. We regularly welcome students and their families from around the world. They bring with them experiences we may not share. We recognize and acknowledge these differences as enrichments to our community.
“Some of our finest programs draw on these families to share their culture, language, and customs with our students, including: International Day (elementary), Urban Suburban Program, Diversity Club, English Language Learner Family Night, and a new program for high school students who are working with eight other local school districts on the topic of diversity in Rochester called ROC2Change.
“On Sunday, October 2 at 3pm members of our community will be joining together in a Unity Walk to demonstrate Pittsford’s commitment to diversity. I congratulate the organizers of the Unity Walk.
“The Town, Village, and School District are working closely with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) to identify the perpetrators of the hateful propaganda being dropped in our community. The MCSO is asking residents who may see something suspicious to call 911.”