A Call for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in ISD728
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We, the students, family members of students, faculty, and alumni of ISD728 district as well as members of the local community, are addressing the need for incorporation of Black history, inclusion, accountability and diversity within the ISD728 school district.
BIPOC students need and deserve more from Elk River High School and the other school’s within the 728 school district. Many current and former BIPOC students have dealt with racial microaggressions and macroaggressions, in which there were little to no repercussions for these actions. A few of the many experiences that students have opened up about include:
- Racial slurs including, but not limited to: use of n-word and ch*nk (often happening in front of staff or reported to later with no repercussions)
- A student’s hijab was ripped off of her head.
- A group of white students screamed white power at a Black student.
- Derogatory statements regarding a student’s race written off as a joke.
- Students and faculty writing off a BIPOC student's emotions as: overly dramatic, too sensitive or even “pulling the race card.”
(Ignoring BIPOC students further perpetuates white supremacy in our society)
- Presence of confederate flags on student’s vehicles and clothing.
If staff is able to search students' vehicles for weapons and drugs they should also be able to ban all hate symbols from school grounds.
- Putting BIPOC students on the spot during class for input regarding a racial subject.
- Students wearing Blackface for halloween costumes and placing in contests.
- Hate symbols and speech written on a Black students vehicle with no consequences, because “it did not occur on school grounds.”
It is imperative that Elk River supports its Black students and condemn incidences of racism wherever they occur, including surrounding areas as well as within the community. We are demanding that the following actions are taken by the ISD728 administration and in a written plan for the public:
- Address incidents of police brutality and offer tangible resources to BIPOC students, even if they do not occur on school grounds. This should include petitions, donations, educational information, and mental health and racial trauma support.
- Hold all students accountable for racist (overt and covert) speech in the classroom, on social media, and off of school grounds. Make these consequences transparent by laying them out in the student handbook so all students are aware of them and BIPOC students feel supported by faculty and staff.
- Consequences for these actions should include: detention, suspension, expulsion, temporary and/or permanent removal from athletic teams.
- Consequences should get more severe upon repeated offenses.
- Use these incidents as an opportunity for students and faculty to learn how their actions affect fellow BIPOC students. Have discussions in homeroom about micro-aggressions and their effects.
- Incorporate curriculum that educates students on Black history, systemic racism and public health disparities directly caused by the history of slavery, redlining, and discrimination.
- Provide more opportunities for students to discuss activism, white privilege, implicit bias, and anti-racism in the classroom.
- Amplify BIPOC voices in the curriculum by reading texts written by BIPOC authors, watching films by BIPOC producers and removing literature/films that white wash the history (ex: Dances with Wolves).
- Use Black history month as a time to bring in Black guest speakers and authors to educate students.
- Recruit, hire and retain BIPOC teachers and counselors so BIPOC students have a more adequate support system.
- Have one equity specialist per school instead of per district.
- All staff training that focuses on anti-racism work, brought in with BIPOC trainers.
Fellow white and BIPOC alumni and I have put together the following document here, which was emailed to the ISD728 school board and Elk River High School Staff. Please read through this document and sign this petition demanding these changes be met. Feel free to include a statement of experiences that were not listed above and why you believe the school district needs to be held accountable.
This link contains all of the ISD728 documents, ways to provide suggestions/input and how to stay up to date on this petition.
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