floyd mural
© REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi
Schools in Piedmont, California offered "support circles" for students after the verdict in the murder trial of former cop Derek Chauvin, though officials have since apologized for giving this service to white kids too.

Piedmont schools offered these "restorative support circles" based on race, according to emails obtained by SFGate.

"We are offering a restorative community circle to support White students who would like to discuss how the trial, verdict, and experiences related to the George Floyd murder are impacting you," Cheryl Wozniak, the assistant superintendent of educational services at Piedmont Unified School District, said in an email reportedly sent to students and staff at Millennium and Piedmont high schools last month.

The proposal followed the guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd while arresting him in Minneapolis last year.

Staff and students complained immediately about the segregated support circles, especially the fact that one which was offered for white students only concerned "how the trial, verdict, and experiences related to the George Floyd murder are impacting you."

In their report, SFGate notes that Wozniak followed up her email by apologizing for the white student support groups, saying, "the impact on our students of color has left them feeling hurt and disrespected by district administration."

Sessions planned for white students were eventually canceled.

School board president Cory Smegal later praised students for their criticism of the scheme, saying: "Our students were the first to call attention to it, and they were right to do so."

Smegal did not call for the dismissal of those behind the "support circles," noting their good intentions.

"If we silence those who take risks and make mistakes along the way, we discourage others from stepping forward to enter into this important work at a time when all of our words are so highly charged and under such scrutiny," she said.

Superintendent Randall Booker also publicly agreed with students who complained about the support groups in a message posted to the district's website.

"A poor choice of words in the subject line of the invitation to white students led to the perception that white students needed the same kind of 'support' as our BIPOC students," the message read. "Students of all racial backgrounds rightfully pushed back on that idea."