Hilton High School recently welcomed Capt. Sam Bell from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, anchor Cristina Domingues from Spectrum News and Natalie Ann Knott, assistant public defender for Monroe County, for a panel discussion on racial bias in the media and justice system.
The event was part of Public Schools Week, which is meant to celebrate and promote the great things happening in each school every day by providing an “immersion” experience for local leaders. It is presented by ACT for Education and local public schools in conjunction with National Public Schools Week.
Students in Mary Pignato’s introduction to law and criminology classes, and Debbie Montrallo’s participation in government classes, participated in the panel discussion. The panel addressed questions on the media’s influence on society’s view of crime and criminal patterns, the bail reform legislation and its consequences, whether media prioritizes stories on crime, career opportunities, and more.
The panel discussion tied into Hilton’s involvement with the ROC2Change Student Summit on Race, which is being co-hosted with East High School on March 27 at Monroe 2 BOCES. ROC2Change was established in 2016 as students from Monroe County started to come together to address race relations in the community.
Over 500 Monroe County youth have participated in previous ROC2Change summits to learn about and promote change related to diversity and inclusion. Each year, two summits are organized by students who engage in facilitated dialogue with peers, working together to develop plans to be the change they believe is needed in the community. The theme of this year’s event is “Bridge the Gap.”