Poster “cancels” Ms. Riley for eating Raisin Bran cereal in Inman. Photo: Emmy Mininberg

Since the beginning of the school year, all teachers have been adamant about following the COVID-19 protocols and restrictions in order to maintain safety and continue with in-person schooling. But recently, as the Flik staff has supplied snacks, some students have been eating food during break or their free periods in the Inman Center rather than taking the food outside to an area where they can socially distance. 

Upper School Dean of Students Allison Riley has consistently encouraged constant and correct mask wearing, social distancing and other forms of COVID-19 protocols. But recently, Ms. Riley was caught in the act. On the Monday morning break prior to spring vacation, Ms. Riley was found unmasked in Inman chowing down on a box of Raisin Bran.

Students gathered around to take pictures and videos, chanting “End the hypocrisy!” and creating a viral movement for educators around the globe. Chaos ensued, and moments later, other upper school deans including Caitlin Terry, Ben Ewing and Krista Wilhelmsen, rushed to the scene in order to put an end to the uproar.

After meeting to discuss the scandal, the upper school faculty decided that Ms. Riley was now a threat to not only the integrity of Pace’s policies, but also the safety of everyone surrounding her. Desperate measures were needed in the wake of her selfish and disrespectful act. They created plan of action, that required Ms. Riley to be on Zoom for the remainder of the school year and that stripped her of any leadership position at Pace.

Her snacking privileges are not only revoked for when she returns for the fall semester of 2021, but a security guard will be required to follow every unmasked move by Ms. Riley to protect the Pace community from any dangerous and risky actions.

All of the requirements laid out in this plan of action seemed to resonate well with the Pace faculty and students, but as the news made its way to Ms. Riley, she proceeded to adhere to the protocols with major resistance. She had been struggling with internet hate from the viral “end the hypocrisy” movement and decided to write a letter of apology. While poetically written and apologetic, the letter is unlikely to spark forgiveness within the student body. “The damage is done,” said Mrs. Wilhelmsen.

The upper school counselors are holding meetings currently to create a safe space for students to vent about Ms. Riley’s act of terror, portraying the extent to which students were affected. “Forgiveness is not something that I think we will ever see in the future for Ms. Riley,” said an anonymous student in one of the vent sessions with Mrs. Eden. “Our hope is to have her be a permanent Zoom faculty member which will lead to her eventual dismissal from the Pace community and staff.”


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