Symbols of hate will not be tolerated in our school community

Portrait of Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams

On Monday evening, we became aware that a personal vehicle with a Confederate flag on the hood had been parked on the Albany High School campus during school Monday morning. This vehicle belongs to an employee of a company working on the Albany High construction project.

The display of hate symbols such as the Confederate flag is unacceptable anywhere in our school community. 

We immediately contacted Turner Construction, the project manager for our Albany High construction. Turner informed us that this matter was identified and addressed Monday morning with both the individual and the company that employs him. The individual was asked to move his car off campus and not to return to campus with it. The individual immediately complied with the request to remove the vehicle from campus.

Turner also distributed materials to all workers on the job site Monday referencing the following information from its company vision and belief statements:

“Every individual deserves a work environment that is safe, welcoming, diverse and inclusive. We will respond aggressively to harassment or bias in any form or manner.”

The materials Turner distributed Monday identified “bias-motivated events to include bullying, destruction, damage or vandalism of property, intimidation, graffiti or symbols depicting hate (e.g., a noose, Confederate flag or swastika), issuance of derogatory leaflets, threats and/or acts of violence.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the same vehicle was found to be parked on Washington Avenue directly in front of the high school. We immediately contacted Turner again to make them aware and to reiterate our message that this display of a hate symbol is unacceptable on our school campuses or in such close proximity to any of our schools. 

We also engaged our district security staff, Albany High School administrators, the Albany Police Department and the Albany County District Attorney’s Office regarding this matter.

We have worked with Turner to make sure the individual does not return to our job site. 

Our school district will not tolerate displays of hate symbols or messaging. Our sensitivity to these matters is especially heightened in the wake of the despicable hate crime in Buffalo over the weekend. 

We continue to work together with our local law enforcement officials and our school and district security staff to monitor this matter, and to provide a safe and respectful learning environment for all students and employees at Albany High and throughout the district. 

Please remember that if you see something, say something. We ask our students and families to bring any type of unusual or disturbing behavior or activity to the attention of a teacher, administrator, law enforcement official or other trusted adult immediately, and for our employees to report any concerns to their supervisor, so that we may address it in partnership with the appropriate authorities. 

Yours in education,

Kaweeda G. Adams