Residents from the town of Amherst gathered Tuesday evening to rally around one of their own, a teacher who was the victim of several racist attacks.
The community came together for Carolyn Gardner, a math teacher at Amherst Regional High School.
However, Gardner said the day was less about her and more about bringing change to a problem that she said plagues the school.
"I want us to support change in our schools that is inclusive to all students. I want us to be supportive for equitable education for all students," said Gardner.
That is the message she relayed to a crowd on the Amherst town green who were there to support her during a difficult time.
Gardner has been the subject of a series of racist messages written throughout the high school.
She took some time off after the messages were found, but she said they cannot keep her from the classroom.
"I'm a teacher. I belong in the classroom, and there are a lot of people who want me back," said Gardner.
Those at the gathering said they applaud Gardner's return.
"All of the ones from the community have come together to stand as a community," said resident Sonji Johnson-Anderson.
"Personally it's great for me, but this is what we need for change to happen. These people are here to support their children's future," said Gardner.
It's a future she said will be equal for all, but she explained it's an effort needed to be made by everyone.
"I can't do this alone. I need you. I need them. Because as far as I'm concerned, racism as far is an all hands on deck issue. It needs us all," said Gardner.
School officials said the investigation still continues to find who wrote the racist remarks.
They said those responsible will be held accountable.
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