Hanover school board needs to create clearly defined policies on racism & discrimination

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As of this month, July, 2020, Hanover County Public Schools has finally decided to hear and acknowledge the demands of Hanover residents to remove the names of Confederate leaders off of two of Hanover's schools, former Stonewall Jackson Middle School and former Lee Davis High School. This is a step towards creating an inclusive equitable environment for all learners but it is not enough. Hanover School Board's policy on equity states that all schools and employees will promote a safe and welcoming environment for students and families. Without clear and written bylaws that dictate what acts of racism and discrimination and the repercussions are, Hanover students can and will continue to engage in behaviors that are neither safe nor welcoming to Black, Indigenous, and Students of Color. Frequently the students who experience discrimination and racism are charged with ‘being the bigger person’ and the offending individual or individuals face minimal repercussions and no accountability to those they have hurt, and of those that face repercussions they are not consistent across the school or the county. 

The Hanover School Board must assemble a task force made up of representatives of the community that includes students, staff, and community members (alumni, parents, etc.). The task force should draft explicit guidelines for teachers and administrators to follow when a student or staff member uses hate speech, racial slurs, discriminatory practices, or other racist actions either directly or indirectly to another student or staff member as well as create an extensive and thorough definition of racism and discrimination as it pertains to Hanover County Public Schools. The drafted bylaws should then be proposed and adopted by Hanover’s school board. Strict adherence to the new bylaws must be reinforced at all levels in the school system. 

Hanover County Public Schools' seal states we have a "tradition of excellence" rather than to emptily proclaim this; let's push our school board into actually creating and achieving a level of greatness that moves forward with equity and justice, and rejects racism and white supremacy.