DCS: We demand equality and inclusivity for all students

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Superintendent Dr. Todd Hoadley, Executive Director of Teaching and Members of the Board of Education: Chris Valentine, Lynn May, Stu Harris, Scott Melody, Rick Weininger, and Brian Kern,

We are writing to you today in response to the violence against Black people in America that has recently come to light. Though appalling, these murders and the violence against Black Americans is nothing new. Since the inception of our country, the unalienable rights we endowed our citizens were denied to our Black brothers and sisters, and to this day, they are still not free. The systemic racism our ancestors built our country on continues to bleed in our society, including our school systems as we’ve recently seen with the testimonies of racism and discrimination on the @deardublinohio Instagram account.

We, as students of Dublin City Schools, stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all protests against racism, police brutality, and discrimination around the country rallying around a cause that should’ve been fulfilled centuries ago. 

As leaders and educators of diverse student communities and populations, we hope you share the grief and anger we feel with the Black community, and hope you use this critical moment to create lasting change that has been long overdue. This movement has become a catalyst for a change that has been unprecedented, and the time for only dialogue and conversation is over. As educators of the next generation of leaders, it is your obligation and duty to provide an environment that is both safe and inclusive of all BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and other marginalized groups, as well as provide the necessary curriculum and education to dismantle the culture of racism within our society. 

Many teachers and administrators have been complacent in allowing a culture of casual racism to be normalized within our district. We demand that you prioritize the responsibility you have to create effective and measurable change that combats the many iterations of systemic racism within our schools to create a safe and inclusive environment for all students. 

The diversity of our students is celebrated within the district, however we cannot ignore the implications that being an ethnic or racial minority in a predominantly white institute has historically had for those of color. The diversity of Dublin does not exist for it to be co-opted to create an inclusive image of a district that has not done enough to foster an equitable opportunity for all students. We call on the district to respond to these systemic issues better by addressing the needs and nuances of BIPOC through all levels and aspects of education.

We demand that Dublin City Schools commits to the following:

1. Create new, comprehensive policies surrounding the specific use of racism or discrimination with clear consequences for students, teachers, and administrators who may violate such policies
Guidelines and consequences involving racist or prejudiced behavior from both teachers and students are very ambiguous in the Student Handbooks. The first step to holding those accountable to their actions is to explicitly detail what qualifies as racist and discriminatory actions, and create corresponding consequences for each. Furthermore, more action needs to be taken beyond advertising the district’s bullying hotline. Create clear policies throughout the district handbook on how teachers and staff can make information about mandatory reporting of racism available. 

2. Diversify our faculty, staff, and administration
As Dublin’s clientele continues to grow more diverse, a reflection of that diversity is needed when it comes to the educators. Studies show that students of color who have a teacher that looks like them have a higher chance of graduating and perform better in school. Furthermore, having counselors and psychologists of color have been proven to provide a safe space for students who look like them, as well. 

3. Mandate that all Dublin employees take courses that address implicit biases, cultural sensitivity, anti-Blackness, white supremacy, anti-immigration, and more to ensure students of all backgrounds will be treated fairly
Though Dublin City Schools already offers training courses such as the ones mentioned above, it’s imperative to require them for all educators and employees to ensure that all staff members are versed in understanding the nuances of different cultures, ethnicities, races, etc. Teachers should be expected to learn and understand more about the students they are teaching.

4. Mandate that all Dublin students take courses that address implicit biases, cultural sensitivity, anti-Blackness, white supremacy, anti-immigration, and more to ensure students of all backgrounds will be treated fairly
In order to create a learning environment that isn’t insensitive to the backgrounds of marginalized students, it is also vital to necessitate courses regarding these topics for all students as well. We need to prioritize the importance of celebrating our differences, as well as being mindful of them so as to not ostracize others or indirectly make them feel inferior and this process is dependent on students as well.

5. Hire diversity and inclusion officers at all levels of education, including central office, to be involved in all aspects of hiring and education
In a predominantly white institute such as Dublin, it is incumbent on the district to hire a diversity and inclusion officer to make sure that our district is continuing into the direction of equity for all students and teachers. Having them at all levels serves as a bridge between the administrative level and school level to constantly revise certain practices as the district sees fit as well as offer a resource to students of color who may not feel safe in a certain classroom setting. A diversity and inclusion officer would hold our educators accountable on their commitments to social justice.


Sincerely,

Dublin Students Against Racism