By Anika Chaturvedi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga
Black alumni of the Atlanta International School are calling for the removal of the school’s leader for what they say are racially-biased actions toward students committed under his supervision.
A petition filed by the group cites posts by Black students about their experiences at the school from the Black at AIS Instagram account, along with AIS core values and a June town hall meeting hosted by head of school Kevin Glass in its call for his removal.
Glass has worked as the head of school at AIS for 11 years, according to his LinkedIn page.
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Atlanta International declined to comment on the petition.
The petition comes on the heels of the Black at AIS Instagram account. Created in June by current students, the page lays out the experiences of Black students, parents, faculty and alumni who attended or visited the school.
At that time, Glass issued an apology in response to the experiences mentioned on the Instagram account noting that he takes ‘ultimate responsibility’ for not creating a school community that lived up to its mission.
Similar Instagram accounts pertaining to Atlanta private schools, such as Black at Lovett, Black at The Paideia School and Black at Woodward cropped up in June at the height of racial inequality protests across the country.
The Instagram account also spurred the Black at AIS website, which includes a list of demands with a suggested timeline of implementation. The demands include required readings and sensitivity trainings for faculty and students, investigations into past disciplinary actions involving racial and implicit biases and support for staff and students.
Rohan Zhou-Lee, an AIS alumnus from the class of 2009, said a June 26 town hall with Glass sparked the petition.
Samantha Grayman, a 2011 alumna of AIS, attended the hourlong, virtual town hall.
“We were looking for tangible action items because it seemed like the school was just trying to brush everything under the rug, and we could not trust the institution to take the action that was necessary,” Grayman, 27 said.
The alumni town hall attended by Grayman was one of several town halls held by the school with different groups of people.
The school’s website lists several goals as part of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion approach, alluding to issues brought up by Black students and alumni. The page lists the creation of a head of equity and inclusion two years ago, and the school is now hiring two coordinators for the primary and secondary schools.
Zhou-Lee and Grayman are skeptical of the steps outlined by Glass and AIS to address these issues.
Grayman said that momentum created after the town hall among non-Black alumni has dwindled, and that the urgency of the issue might not be easy to comprehend for non-Black students.
“While it’s important to get rid of Kevin Glass, a lot of the issues that existed, existed prior to him, and he is just someone who is not making it better,” Grayman said.