Improve Inclusivity and Diversity in the Shenandoah School District

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Dear Shenandoah School District Administration,

As alumni of the Shenandoah School District and members of the Shenandoah Community, we strongly believe that the District could do more to create a more inclusive learning environment for its students. The recent devastating deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and countless others have reminded us of the system of racism in which we exist, and it is necessary for educational institutions to educate students on this system. It is also necessary for educational institutions to actively build better and safer learning environments for students of color. Recently, several alumni have shared their experiences with racism during their time as students in the District. It is important for the District to take these experiences into account to ensure that current and future students have the tools to work toward social and racial justice. The District must ensure that students of color are empowered to speak up when they experience racism and have confidence their concerns will be taken seriously. In order to work toward inclusivity and diversity, the District must take many vital actions. We demand the following as a starting point:

  1. Release a statement in support of the District’s Black students and a detailed plan of how the District will address racial injustice 
  2. Include social justice and racial equity as part of the District’s value statement 
  3. Review and update guidelines and procedures, based on community feedback, for how students, staff, and faculty will report acts of racism and how the District will review and reprimand these actions accordingly
  4. Plan and implement professional training for all staff, faculty, and school board members on topics of racial and social equity, including, but not limited to, implicit bias, microaggressions, and student empowerment
  5. Ensure that staff, faculty, and school board members maintain their training on diversity and inclusion through mandatory testing or additional professional development every three years
  6. Review the existing curriculums to ensure that they contain a diverse representation of voices and accurate teaching on social and racial justice and recognition of privilege
  7. Create a committee dedicated to diversity and inclusion at Shenandoah Schools in order to ensure that the District implements the changes outlined above and works to actively provide a better learning environment for BIPOC students