Double Standards at Grace: Three Unique Perspectives

Art provided by Maggie Seckler ’26

By Miranda Chao Hwang & Zamira Frost

Although circle practices are often met with reluctance from the student body, they have made one thing clear: Grace cares deeply about addressing issues of belonging within its community. Despite this, there seems to be a discrepancy in how we treat issues of belonging and the lack thereof in our community. 

Our senior year at Grace has been one filled with joy and the cultivation of beautiful memories. It has also been overshadowed, time and time again, by instances of hate speech that target and isolate members of our community. 

The administration has not ignored this hate, as demonstrated by the numerous talks from members of the administration and advisory circle practices. While certain issues of marginalization have been addressed, a tangible gap has emerged in regard to the repercussions that students, and members of the faculty, face for committing microaggressions, derogatory statements, or other actions that offend marginalized students. 

As two students who have experienced acts of marginalization at Grace, we have felt this double standard firsthand, and feel strongly that it must be acknowledged and resolved. 


I’m no stranger to microaggressions at Grace. After growing up as a young Chinese girl in a predominantly white student body, I’ve grown accustomed to teachers mixing me up with other Asian students. Although I’ve learned to avoid an external reaction when I’m misnamed, internally, I feel the same as when my elementary school PE teacher swapped me and another Chinese girl: incredibly small and doubtful about whether all that person sees is my race. 

I know that this isolating experience at Grace is not limited to me and my Asian peers. It’s not rare to walk down the hallway and hear whispers of faculty confusing students of the same race with each other or making problematic comments. 

Knowing that similar incidents do indeed happen between faculty and students—and how uncomfortable it is for affected students to run into the same teachers everyday—I find it frustrating to see the disproportionate action taken against students compared to members of the faculty. 

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the administration’s efforts to ensure that every student feels that sense of belonging that’s so pertinent to Grace’s mission statement. Nevertheless, it is unfair that Grace’s students of color have to hear the same teachers repeatedly misname them, or other students, and make offhanded comments without any tangible/apparent repercussions. School is supposed to be a place where students can learn, and simply exist undisturbed, and it becomes anything but that when students of color must sit through class feeling anxious about whether their teacher remembers their name. 


As a Jewish student at Grace, I acknowledge that my experience is different from those of students of color at this school. Although Jewish students don’t make up the majority of our school, we are not, by any means, a small portion of this community. 

Antisemitism often feels distant in New York City, especially at progressive, private schools like Grace. Jewish people make up 0.2% of the global population yet simultaneously 21% of Jewish people reside in New York City. The density of Jewish people in New York City in comparison to the rest of the world, can often create this inaccurate presumption that we are somehow a majority in this world—I mistakenly assumed the same.

When a swastika was drawn on the third floor bathroom of our school, I was appalled. Swastikas are hate symbols and there is no question about that. They symbolize the murder of my people, so learning about this incident was not only horrifying, but outright shocking. The administration addressed the student body in house community meetings, abruptly interrupting and denouncing this blatant act of hate. 

Despite their immediate response, the student body was never updated with the state of the investigation, and to my knowledge, the person never faced any punishment. I now find myself feeling unsafe in school when conversations surrounding Judaism arise. 

In addition to being a Jewish person in our community, I am also a member of the queer community at Grace. In the recent weeks, there has been an overwhelming amount of advocacy for the queer community at our school in response to the increased incidents of homophobic rhetoric. 

I’m grateful that the school has devoted so much attention to the issues of homophobia at our school, as this recognition makes me feel heard and acknowledged. Simultaneously, I find myself curious about the attention given to the recent homophobia, in comparison to issues of anti-semitism and racism at our school. The attention is disproportionate. It often feels like the administration, perhaps unconsciously, selects the issues of marginalization that they feel are most important to address. 

We wanted to hear the perspectives of other students to learn whether their experiences aligned with ours. 

We wanted to highlight insights from Sydney G. ‘25, who shares her experiences being a student of color at Grace:

“From the point of view of a person of color, I think the root discrepancy is visibility. Being that GCS is a PWI, a lot of the grace experience is perceived as a white experience. An outsider coming into our school wouldn’t be able to distinguish marginalized experience from a non-marginalized experience. Of course, there are events like chapels, that can highlight the experiences of marginalized students. However, I think it’s important to know the day-to-day experience of marginalized students outside of the issues that we face. As a school, it’s important to maintain the community– and a part of that is checking in. That could possibly look like administration talking with affinity spaces two to three times a school year. I think marginalized students deserve that type of support, not just when we’re facing issues. 

I think following up after incidents is important as well. When issues that marginalized students are facing are brought to the student body’s attention, we are told that there are measures being taken, but we are never told how the school plans to protect students in the future. Not to say that the school doesn’t have a plan, but I think it’s important for us to hear what that plan is.”

Grace has undoubtedly made steady progress towards cultivating an environment in which students have spaces to share their experiences and find affirmation. It is also clear that many members of the administration and faculty care deeply about addressing incidents of hate and anti-belonging that not only isolate students, but also prevent Grace from aspiring to achieve the qualities laid out in its mission statement. 

As graduating seniors and members of minority groups, we have repeatedly observed the flaws in the school’s approach to issues that plague marginalized students. Although we’re leaving Grace, we hope that in the coming years, the administration will devote greater attention to listening to students’ concerns about faculty accountability and strive to address all issues equally. 

Miranda and Zamira are Senior Columnists for The Grace Gazette. This is their last article, and they’ll miss The Gazette very much! Randy and Zam signing off…