P.E. Yoga Class Zoom Incident

Liz Schwab:

Friday, September 11th was the first day of synchronous PE classes at Friends Academy. Out of the three sections of PE classes, the yoga class had about ninety upper school students and one teacher who works outside of Friends Academy present on the call. During the yoga class zoom meeting, an unknown student renamed themself as “George Floyd”, unmuted his/her mic, and repeatedly said “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe” to the class. In shock, many students responded after a brief pause of silence in the call: “That was disgusting” one student said. 

 After the yoga zoom call ended, the next block was an upper school Meeting for Worship. Students who were there shared what happened in the yoga class and others shared their thoughts on the situation. Mr. Schoeffel, Ms. Kelly, and Camille all sent updates via email in response to the incident. One student videotaped the incident and posted it to social media where various community members and alumni responded. Mr. Schoeffel also spoke during the next meeting for worship about the incident. 

I was not present within the yoga class call, but after hearing what happened during the Meeting for Worship the block after, my heart dropped. Ms. Clark’s words about the state of our community during the meeting for worship was stuck in my head the entire day. I, too, was uncertain of the circumstances our community faced. With many students scared such an incident could occur in our community, there is no doubt community building and action is essential during this time. 

 

Mohan Jauhar:

It was the first block of the day, and I along with almost every single one of the approximately 90 students in the PE Yoga zoom call had their zoom camera off.  In addition, to the ridiculous 1:90 teacher-to-student ratio, the situation wasn’t helped by the fact that our teacher was a respectfully quiet yoga teacher outside of FA, who was not inclined to discipline or punish rowdy kids.  Starting with inappropriate sounds and blasting of music, a few kids set the tone for what became a much more serious incident.  Knowing these sporadic, uncontrollable disruptions were just bound to continue, I turned my volume lower on my computer to be able to just barely hear the teacher talking, while ensuring that I would not get startled from yet another loud prank.  Well into the zoom call at this point and just coming back from a bathroom break, I heard a few students speaking out against the troublemakers, saying that they “had taken it too far”.  But never in my entire experience at Friends Academy would I have thought that someone turned on their mic and shouted “I can’t breathe” twice, whilst renamed as “George Floyd”.  Having missed the actual incident, I watched back the videotape of the incident, completely in shock of the degree of misconduct that had occurred.  The degree of rage that has been incited in the entire FA community may cause some community members to think that retaliation is the answer, but this is the farthest away from the truth.  We must work together as one community, in conjunction with the perpetrators of the incident, to ensure that something like this never occurs again.