What Our School Can Learn From Maya Peterson

This article was originally featured on TABS-- The Association of Boarding Schools

Earlier this year, Maya Peterson, a student at The Lawrenceville School (Princeton, NJ), posted an Instagram photo that sparked a firestorm on social media. Titled “Lawrenceville Boi” the photo showed Ms. Peterson, who was also student body president, in a Yale sweatshirt and L.L Bean boots, holding a hockey stick. According to reports, Peterson shared the picture as a response to her fellow classmates who were not comfortable with her senior photo in which she and others raised their fists in a Black Power salute. Eventually, Ms. Peterson stepped down from her student leadership position.

I have been analyzing and even over-analyzing this situation for a good part of the summer. How would your school handle this? Who would be involved in the decision? Do other schools have the agencies and people in place to deal with something like this? How would a school tackle the important conversations necessary following sensitive incidents like this? Can your school confidently assess how they would have handled the situation? Would it be the same if she wasn’t student body president? If she were white? If she were a he?

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