October 13, 2021

PPBC Board Shows Support for New Riverside School Principal

We, the Executive Board of Princeton Parents for Black Children (PPBC), declare our full support for Riverside Elementary School’s new Principal Ebony Lattimer and express our concern and dismay regarding the efforts of a small group of parents, some anonymously, lobbying for her resignation. 

PPBC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate for equity and to support all Black children in the Princeton Public School District. Although our focus is ensuring that Black children in this district can enjoy the full benefits of this education system despite the persistence of systemic and institutional racism, we are keenly aware that our work ultimately benefits all the children in this district. 

Less than two months into her tenure, Principal Lattimer has demonstrated her willingness to make difficult decisions to improve the educational environment for all children at Riverside. Her decision to transform traditional celebrations, such as Halloween and Valentine’s Day, into more inclusive, less emotionally disruptive and more educationally appropriate events for all students was long overdue. Unfortunately, modifying tradition in Princeton is difficult, especially in this instance where the tradition that is truly threatened by an independent principal is that of privileged parents who insist on an outsized role in school management and operations. 

Principal Lattimer, who was selected to steward Riverside by a diverse committee of stakeholders and hired by Superintendent Dr. Carol Kelley, arrived in the district at the end of August. Undoubtedly, such a late start presented mutual communication challenges for the new principal and some Riverside parents. 

We believe, Principal Lattimer has responded admirably to the challenges and the unjustifiable vitriol of a few parents. By delaying her decision to transform Halloween and Valentine’s Day to make them more appropriate for all elementary school students, she has demonstrated a willingness to work more closely with parents to make sure they understand the pedagogical and equity-based reasons for changes to school tradition. We support and applaud those parents who responded reasonably by assuring Principal Lattimer that we are truly a welcoming and compassionate community open to her leadership in favor of all our children.

We want to make it abundantly clear that we will not stand idly by while educators (of any racial, religious or ethnic background) committed to improving the education of all students are unreasonably attacked by those interested in protecting their privilege. We ask and expect that our true allies will not remain silent either.

The Executive Board Of Princeton Parents For Black Children