A History of Administrative Incident Response


Graphic by Elena Stevens

Various emails sent from administration to the Piedmont community

Elena Stevens, Staff Writer

PMS staff found anti-Asian slurs inside vandalized classrooms over the weekend of Dec. 17, according to a letter sent to PMS parents and students from the PMS administration. The students broke into a total of four classrooms and one bathroom. In addition to leaving the slurs, other items were moved and supplies were used.  

At the time of the letter’s release, on Dec. 19, PMS administration had not yet identified the students responsible for the vandalism. However, according to interim superintendent Dr. Donald Evans, the students have since been identified and staff has taken action to discipline them. 

Emails detailing the incident were sent to PMS parents and students, as well as PHS parents. The lack of communication from the district to the PHS community prompted some frustration from PHS student groups. When discussing the incident, student groups like Asian Student Union and Piedmont Affinity and Identity Mentors expressed concern that the administration’s lack of response was becoming a pattern.   


Fantasy Slut League (2012)

The “Fantasy Slut League” was a group created by PHS varsity athletes in which male students earned “points” by engaging in sexual activities with female students, according to a notice to parents from then principal Rich Kitchens. According to Kitchens’ notice, the league had been in existence for five to six years at the time. Piedmont received national media attention when the league was discovered.

Kitchens and the PHS administration responded by releasing an extensive notice to parents, detailing the information they had and their plan moving forward. According to the notice, staff conducted an investigation which included interviewing students, parents, and staff. The notice was only sent to parents of PHS students, not the students themselves.


Swastika in Boys Restroom (2021)

In April of 2021, a swastika was found carved into a stall in the boys bathroom, according to a letter addressed to PHS families. An investigation was then conducted, but the results of the investigation were not shared with families.

The administration’s response letter was sent to parents, students, and staff six days after the swastika was initially found. In the letter, administration briefly reported the incident and briefed families on the investigation and steps to come. A majority of the email focused on reiterating that acts of hatred, bigotry, dehumanization, or division have no place in the community, and thanked students upstanders who actively chose to reject anti-Semitism and other hate. The letter concluded by asking students to follow the school mantra of “see something, say something.”


White Support Circle (2021)

Dr. Cheryl Wozniak sent out an email on April 21 offering a “white student support circle” in response to the trial, verdict, and experiences related to George Floyd. Almost immediately, there was backlash from the student community, including a viral TikTok from a PHS student expressing his frustration with the administration. 

The following day, April 22, Wozniak sent an email titled, “Apology and Clarification for Support Circles”, in which she apologized for the harm her email had caused students of color in the community. She said that she recognized that her words caused students of color to feel hurt and disrespected by the administration, and offered anyone impacted to directly reach out to her. 

Superintendent Randall Booker sent another email on April 23, acknowledging the email sent by Wozniak and clarifying the district’s intent behind the support circles. According to his email, the intent was to provide white students with an opportunity to discuss how to be an ally. He reiterated the district’s commitment to providing students with a safe space to address their feelings, and ended by thanking those who communicated with them, adding that their feedback was important. 


Swastika Behind the Gym (2021)

A swastika and the word “Hitler” were found written in chalk behind the Binks-Rawlings Gym in May of 2021, according to an email sent to PHS students, parents, and staff that day. At the time the email was sent, an investigation was ongoing.

In the email, PHS administration denounced acts of anti-Semitism and other hate, reminded students to report hate speech, graffiti, harassment, or intimidation, and wrote that they would inform the community of developments as the investigation progressed. No follow up email was sent. 


Fentanyl (2023)

Over the weekend of Jan. 21, a PHS student was hospitalized after ingesting psilocybin, according to the Piedmont Police Department. Traces of fentanyl metabolite were later found in the student’s toxicology report, according to the student. 

Interim Superintendent Dr. Donald Evans sent an email to PHS, MHS, and PMS parents, informing them that “rainbow fentanyl” was accessible to students. The email provided a definition of fentanyl, and then encouraged parents to talk with their children about the dangers of using it. Evans sent a follow up email later that day with a corrected version of events, as rainbow fentanyl was not involved. In that same follow up email, he wrote that he would be speaking with secondary school administration to discuss how to speak to students about the dangers of fentanyl. He concluded by saying he would update the parents on the progress as soon as possible. At the time of publication, no other email has been sent to parents, and students have not received any direct communication from the district regarding the incident. 


This does not include emails the district has sent regarding national events/events taking place outside of the Piedmont community.