Posted on March 5, 2021

Douglas Anderson Email: ‘Cultural Meetings’ to Be Split for ‘Students of Color’ & ‘White Students’

Erik Avanier, News 4 Jax, March 2, 2021

Several parents of students at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts told News4Jax on Tuesday they received an email informing them of upcoming student meetings to discuss “cultural issues that have arisen” at the school.

The email that was sent to DA families with the subject line “Student Cultural Meetings” was addressed from Melanie Hammer, the school’s principal. It states that two student meetings are planned for Thursday, and that the meetings are to “ensure that DA is truly a place for all.”

The email states one meeting will be for “students of color” and that the other will be for “white students.” It also reads “By working together, we can all create the best DA.”


News4Jax spoke with a student and her parent, who received the email.

“Over the last year, there has been tons of attention that has been drawn to the racial divide and tension at Douglas Anderson and there were efforts made to try and pull things together, mend wounds and improve relationships. But, when I saw the memo, I couldn’t believe it. It was like we took a step back,” said LaToya Gunn, a parent.


Tuesday night, a second email addressed from Hammer was sent out to families, saying that may people have been asking questions about why two separate meetings were scheduled.


Many have reached out with questions regarding why two separate meetings have been scheduled. DA has partnered with a diversity consultant to help address concerns and ensure all student voices are heard.

Our diversity consultant is hosting two meetings in hopes of creating a safe space to allow students to be transparent about their experiences at DA. {snip}