Hamilton-Wenham High School prom ends early after racial slur yelled on dance floor

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“Racist incidents like this will not be tolerated in our schools or at school events.”

Prom festivities came to a halt at Hamilton-Wenham High School last week after “one or more” students yelled a racial slur on the dance floor. 

Superintendent Eric Tracy addressed the incident in an email to families. He said that while music was playing at the junior prom on April 28, someone yelled the N-word.

According to Tracy, after speaking with student leaders and the class advisor, the school’s principal, Bryan Menegoni, ended the prom and opened an investigation into the incident. 

“Racist incidents like this will not be tolerated in our schools or at school events,” Tracy wrote. “Our schools and school events must always be safe spaces for our students. We will continue to work together to make that a reality.”

In his email, Tracy included an excerpt from Menegoni’s note to students who were at the prom. 

“Our students need to hear that what happened was wrong and that as a community we need to stand together against hurtful and racist language,” Menegoni wrote. “At the same time, we will take the necessary steps to determine who spoke this hateful word and apply appropriate disciplinary action. I want to acknowledge that this word is hateful, hurtful, and shameful, and has no place anywhere in our school community. I am upset and disappointed that even one of our students would ever use this word in any context.”

According to Tracy, students came together this week to discuss the incident with Menegoni, class advisors, and teachers.

“While there was a very somber tone, they used the opportunity to talk about growth as a class — learning and understanding issues of racism and working together with their affected peers to understand the impact of language,” Tracy wrote. 

School officials are continuing to investigate the incident and have asked police to investigate as well, according to Tracy. 

“Unfortunately, there is some considerable deflection happening on social media,” Tracy wrote. “Some people are pointing at the DJ and administration for playing/approving the song in question. All music played at the prom was radio appropriate as it is a standard of the DJ before being hired.”

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