Pep-Rally Put-Down Of People With… – New Haven Independent

Pep-Rally Put-Down Of People With… – New Haven Independent

by | Sep 5, 2022 4:29 pm
(14) Comments | Post a Comment | E-mail the Author
Posted to: Schools
Hillhouse High School’s new principal ended his first week on the job with a community-wide apology.
The principal, Mark Sweeting, issued the apology online to teachers, staff and ALL Hillhouse community” in the wake of a comedy performance during a school-wide pep rally held on Thursday.
At the rally, the comedian, a Hillhouse grad named Stephen Jenkins who goes by the stage name Toxic Steve,” told the students about greeting a special education teacher with a put-down on the way into the auditorium. The teacher was in charge of a class of special-needs children.
How you teaching the slow kids?” Jenkins joked.
The remark prompted outrage among some students and parents concerned about the portrayal of special-education students. Cellphone video footage of Jenkins’ performance made the rounds on Facebook, including, for several days, on Jenkins’ page.
I humbly apologize for the disturbing words said by a local comedian who totally went off of the practiced script during our Pep Rally,” Principal Sweeting subsequently wrote in his community-wide message posted to the ParentSquare app.
I, nor any of my team, agree with, support, nor endorse his wording nor his sentiments. He totally went off the script that included making jokes about Mr. Green, Mr. Brown, and me. I had no idea of this change and asked Mr. Brown to get him off the stage. 
With nephews who are multi-handicapped and on the autistic spectrum, I would NEVER support anything that was said.
Again, I humbly apologize and will state this same sentiment upon returning Tuesday.”
Reached by phone Monday, Sweeting declined further comment.
Jenkins did not respond to an online request for comment. 

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Ok. I am a teacher at Hillhouse. This was far worse than you describe. Mr. Sweeting never tried to stop the humiliation of his students. He stated that he asked Mr. Brown to do so. That was not Mr. Brown’s job. That was his job. He then proceeded to tell all the students they were part of a failing school. When one of them took issue with that he told them he had the data.
This man has no respect from the students and no respect from staff.

Let's remember Assistant Superintendent Hannans and Superintendent Tracey essentially forced Sweeting on us. We are continually treated with no respect. We did our homework and knew he wasn't right for us. They are also responsible for this!

This is not the email sent to the parents and students. Further it is littered with half truths and straight lies. Please remove this and receive the proper document. Further, coerced apologies are not actually apologies are they? Passing the buck isn’t an apology is it? Let’s not call this something it is not!!

Let’s not forget his comment about the “crackheads on Goffe Street.” He tried to tell kids how important it is to get an education….without it they can’t get a job….without a job no money….without money….they’ll end up like the crackheads on Goffe St….Yes, he went there!

This so-called comedian also CONTINUED after the special Ed insult to say that education is important because without it you can’t get a job, and without a job you can’t get money, and without money you’ll end up like “the crackheads out on Goffe Street….you know what I’m sayin’?” His “uplifting and motivational” message for our unsuspecting students. Utter disgrace!

I was also present and appalled during this pep-rally on Friday afternoon. The “comedian” went on to make jokes about drug addicts that roam the park directly across the building. He told the kids that if they didn’t finish school, they wouldn’t get jobs, if they don’t get jobs they won’t have money, and if they don’t have money they’ll be just like the crackheads outside at Goffe street park. Not only does Hillhouse have a large population of students with learning disabilities; but a lot of our kids come from broken households; directly affected by drug addiction. These are not jokes to our children, nor to the staff that work directly with these kids, providing extra love and care when they share these personal challenges with us. Perhaps a principal who is not spending time directly with our students wouldn’t understand the severity. The comedian has been posting about the event on his Facebook page, but has yet to apologize on that platform either. The layers of pure ignorance is so upsetting. For years we’ve been working hard to change the schools direction and reputation and in a matter of a 20min pep rally, we’re going 10 steps back. This hurts.

Please share the videos with your followers! That ignorant man made hand gestures, signaling “low” as he bent down to signal that the “slow kids” are below others. I appreciate you putting our community on notice but this article does no justice to how disgusting Friday was. He opened the show with a statement that he wore red because “Hillhouse ain’t bout nothing” as a rivalry school joke. Let’s not forget he was not given permission to have our students faces shown on his personal Facebook page.

I am a staff member at Hillhouse and witnessed this disgusting "Pep Rally." It began with a ex-con saying words of motivation, moved to a video of Mr. Sweeting with a rapper on the street, and culminated with the derogatory comments towards a teacher and all Special Education students. However, Central Office seems to be overlooking the ignorance that allowed this to happen. Mr. Sweeting apparently did not do his research in hiring Mr. Stephen Ray Jenkins (aka Toxic Steve). One look at his Facebook page will leave one wondering how this man was allowed to perform in a school building. I urge everyone to Google Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Sweeting. The results will show that this occurrence really shouldn't be surprising. Mrs. Sweeting should be replaced for his history of poor judgment. Being responsible for 1200 students is far too important. Sweeting has lost his staff and students in one week.

Exactly, if Mr. Sweeting knew/trusted this man well enough to invite him- perhaps the man would have enough respect for Sweeting to deleted his videos and apologize to our kids! If Toxic Steve thinks this is a way to go viral, he’s wrong! His career is trash.

You'd think the stage name "Toxic Steve" would be a red flag?

Can we please get a round of applause for the lovely Ms. Norman who closed the show with her baton routine! At least that was pretty cool!

No surprise here. If the records could be found on principal; it would speak for itself. No one gets fired in NHPS except teachers. Admin just gets moved around!! Central Office is fossilized in place on Meadow St.
However, if HHS is a failing school- this principal just got there… can't blame him for that.

My question is and always will be, who's extremely inappropriate idea was it to bring an adult stand up comedian in to entertain CHILDREN? Of all the the speakers and talent that could have made this "pep rally" an awesome event for the students and been a source of encouragement, this clown was what they came up with? Furthermore, why wasn't he IMMEDIATELY dismissed after the first inappropriate "joke"?

Mark Sweeting should be fired. Plain and simple. He showed no judgment; no intelligence; no empathy. He should be fired from his 168,000 job. Because of his conduct children were emotionally hurt and staff were compromised. Why hasn’t he been , at the very least, put on leave until this is sorted????
This corner has many children crossing on their own and the lack of visibility over the…
red light out
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