Safe-T for school unity

Siddharth Srinivasan

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Photo by Siddharth Srinivasan

SAFE-T Club officers Yerim Kone and Gracie Luna. Founded in the wake of the “Schindler’s List” incident in early 2019, the club aims to combat discrimination and promote inclusivity throughout WJ.

In the early months of 2019, the sophomore class gathered in the auditorium to watch the much- acclaimed Holocaust film, “Schindler’s List”. What was designed to be an opportunity for students to learn about one of the most devastating tragedies in recent history devolved into some students cheering and clapping during the film’s more sensitive scenes.

The student body was split on the issue, undecided on what exactly had provoked this behavior.

Regardless, people were angry. Some were so outraged, they decided to take action.

“A couple of students went to see Mrs. Baker the day after the incident,” senior Yerim Kone said. “None of us knew each other, but we decided that we needed a group to make the student body more cohesive.”

These students would go on to form the SAFE-T (Students Advocating for Equity and Tolerance) Club, of which Kone is president.

According to WJ’s website, SAFE-T club, “connects students of all backgrounds with each other, as well as students with administration, to generate solutions for greater social issues that manifest in our school.” The latter is something Kone was keen to reinforce.

“We aren’t focused on just identifying and understanding issues, but we also want to work with the administration and the student body to find solutions. Whether the solution is unlocking bathroom stalls or creating entirely new courses, we’re just fighting to make everything more inclusive,” Kone said.

Ultimately, there was still a singular, ultimate mission for Kone.

“SAFE-T’s main mission is to unite the student body and close the differences between us so that we can all understand each other a lot better,” Kone said.

For SAFE-T Club to realize its goals and enforce change throughout the school, they need to work closely with the administration. Thankfully for them, they have an ally in Principal Jennifer Baker, whose own thoughts echoed those of SAFE-T Club’s.

“A lot of problems are a result of a lack of understanding,” Baker said. “If you know someone well you won’t treat them poorly. It comes down to understanding and learning about the wonderful richness we have here at WJ. We have a fantastic student population, people from all over the world, different cultures, different religions, different races. It would really benefit us if we got to know each other a little bit better.”

SAFE-T Club meets every other Tuesday in room G36.