ST. MARY'S COUNTY RESIDENTS CALL FOR RACE-RELATED EDUCATIONAL REFORMS
Deeply concerned about systemic racism and its harmful impacts on both students and our community, and committed to working for racial equity, we the undersigned -- students and alumni of the St. Mary's County School System (SMCPS), along with parents, other family members and community supporters -- call upon the St. Mary's County Board of Education (BoE) and the SMCPS to implement and enforce the state-mandated and locally-approved Equity in Education policy, and to ensure that an SMCPS education enables students to understand racism, privilege, and justice.
Respected child rights advocate, Marian Wright Edelman, rightly noted: "Education is for improving the lives of others and leaving your community and the world better than you found it." We urge the following actions to equip SMCPS graduates to achieve personal success and improve our community for all.
(1) Review, revise, and enhance existing curricula, textbooks, and materials to:
- Identify and remove any explicit racist distortions or representations.
- Teach the unvarnished truth about racism and privilege in America by adding anti-racism educational instruction and field experiences that offer accurate, balanced representation of our local, state, and national history.
- Incorporate positive contributions by people of color to all fields.
- Ensure meaningful celebration of African American, Women’s, Hispanic, and Native American History months.
- Build an understanding of how slavery, Jim Crow laws, and historic racism continue to influence current policies like those relating to education, housing, environmental protection, transportation, re-districting, and voting.
(2) Hire more people of color as teachers, mentors and role models; and support teachers' commitments and capacity to teach about historic and systemic racism, and to foster classroom and school climates of civility and respect for the value and dignity of all.
(3) Maintain regular mechanisms for communicating with students, parents, and the community to ensure a community-wide understanding of the SMCPS Equity in Education policy.
(4) Address disproportionate suspensions, expulsions, and arrests of African-American students by monitoring for and remedying bias in disciplinary actions, assessing the impacts of School Resource Officers, and increasing positive supports to enable troubled or struggling students to find pathways to success.
References: MSDE/ SMCPS Equity Policy: COMAR 13A.01.06;
Data: 2018-19- Minority staff = Approx. 10%, Minority Students= Approx-23%,
Arrests: Population 18% AA, More than 50% suspended/expelled and 65% arrested (So MD News 7-24-20)
Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE)