Shrewsbury School Parents Debating Controversial Black History Month Poem

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SHREWSBURY, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) – School parents are up in arms about a poem that was read last week at Shrewsbury High School that some are saying sent a bad message about police.

The poem was read last Wednesday, February 16, as part of Black History Month over the loudspeakers at the school. Portions of the poem made harsh references to the police killing of George Floyd and some parents, including Jeffrey Sossa Paquette, claim it depicted police officers as predators. Paquette brought his concerns before the school committee.

“One of the questions that I ask everybody here, as I have a State Police retired sergeant sitting right here, do we think its appropriate that her 16-year-old daughter would be taught that her mother is a predator or a murderer," he said. "What are we teaching in our schools?”

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The opening line to the poem read, “What you gonna do when the cops is coming for you? Mom’s telling them since he was two, saying ‘they goin’ protect you.’ Don’t be fooled, that stopped being true they goin’ kill you.” Another parent, who share the audio of the poem on Facebook, brought a bigger issue into the conversation.

“This problem is part of a more significant issue – the lack of transparency for us parents to see what’s going on in our children’s classrooms,” they wrote. “Too often, we see videos of teachers crossing the line, and it should have never gotten to this point. How can we trust schools with our children when they depict our police officers as enemies of the people?”

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The Shrewsbury Police Department on Saturday released a statement saying they were aware of the poem and the widespread debate it caused among the community but are staying neutral in the conversation. They also said they aware of at least one group that was planning a “rally type” event for the weekend and were staying vigilant.

“The Shrewsbury Police Department strives to provide excellent, fair, professional and impartial services to all our community members,” the statement read. “Our officers work hard every day to connect with our community and strengthen relationships between law enforcement and our citizens.”

WBZ's Shari Small (@ShariSmallNews) has more:

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