Demanding Racial Justice from District 112
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The following is a letter I will be sending to the school board of District 112 next week, if you would like your name added please sign the petition and let me know your graduating year if you are alum.
We represent a number of District 112 graduates and current students who would like to call attention to the District’s lack of response to the current injustices impacting our community, as well as the District’s curricular practices that neglect issues of racial justice. This statement is intended to address both the ways that District 112 harms Black students and students of color, as well as fails to educate white students on topics of crucial importance. It is clear that the District is not prioritizing teaching about diverse perspectives. Diversity and inclusion are not named as one of the District’s Core Values.
As District 112 alumni representing Chanhassen High School, Chaska Middle School East, Victoria Elementary School, Pioneer Middle School across graduating classes, we have all had differing experiences in our District 112 education. However, there is one thing on which we can all agree: our K-12 education did not prepare us to respond with empathy to the current and historical injustices in our country. It is widely known that the District’s student population and staff are predominantly white. However, this does not excuse an omission of these topics from our curriculum.
We are concerned that the students who are currently enrolled in your schools will continue to graduate without the knowledge, empathy, and critical thinking skills that can allow them to understand both the historical and present realities of racial and social injustice. Therefore, we demand the Board immediately respond to and work to meet the following action steps:
1. Include social justice and racial equity as one of the District’s Core Values.
2. Release a detailed plan for recruiting, hiring, and retaining educators of color, as well as establish a leadership position dedicated to equity and social change.
3. Review the existing Social Studies curriculum to ensure that it contains accurate historical and contextual teaching on social and racial injustice and recognition of privilege.
4. Plan and implement professional development for all staff and faculty on implicit bias, racial equity, and inclusive curriculums.
5. Assess the existing Equity Team to ensure that it is racially diverse and that it collaborates with students to complete the aforementioned steps.
If we are truly focused on exceptional and personalized learning, then let us come together to be on the right side of history. We would be grateful for the opportunity to work with you and use this letter and action steps as the starting point for ongoing discussions. We would also like any future discussions to include the voices of current students whose perspectives would be greatly valued.
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