Anti-Racism Training and Education in Ridgefield Public Schools

Anti-Racism Training and Education in Ridgefield Public Schools

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Kate Lindenburg started this petition to Superintendent Susie Da Silva Ed.D. and

According to 2018 data released by the U.S. Department of Education and organized by the independent, non-profit ProPublica, the Ridgefield Connecticut School District is 84% white, 7% Hispanic, 6% Asian, 3% Two+ Races, and 1% Black. We call upon the decision-makers and leaders of the Ridgefield Public School system to recognize that the racially disparate demographic of its student body is not an accident. Rather, it has been shaped by long-entrenched racial and socio-economic inequalities that inform not only the way our school districts are drawn and but also the way these districts are funded. The Ridgefield School system is able to provide a world-class public education for its students, in large part due to the funding it receives. Yet a 2016 report released by the nonprofit EdBuild found that school districts that predominantly serve students of color received $23 billion less in funding than mostly white school districts in the United States, despite serving the same number of students. 

The makeup of our schools is the product of segregation, redlining, racist zoning, generational wealth, white privilege, and Supreme Court decisions that have upheld race-blind laws with racially discriminatory impacts. The evidence is clear. The homogeneity of the RHS student body is not accidental. It is built on a legacy of injustice. 

We are part of the problem. Therefore, we must also be part of the solution. The Ridgefield School System must do more to support and protect its black students. It must do more to support and protect its students of color. It must do more to teach its white students to be active allies. Equity in education is a long fight to which our entire community must commit. While inequity persists, we are calling on Ridgefield Public Schools to do the following:

1. Institute mandatory anti-racism training for K-12 public school teachers and administrators, building on the anti-racism training Professional Development day hosted at RHS for teachers this year. 

2. Adopt a curriculum that teaches racism in an unbiased way and elevates the voices of black and POC scholars and artists who write on racial injustice.

3. Act in solidarity by taking police out of schools and instead hire outside security guards who have completed anti-racism training.

4. Hold regular and mandatory assemblies and workshops with guest speakers to address issues of racism, whiteness, and other forms of systemic injustice and violence. It is never too early to learn about injustice. If D.A.R.E assemblies can be held in elementary school, so can these. 

According to its mission statement, Ridgefield High School "strives to cultivate a highly engaging and personalized learning environment that encourages individual growth, resilience, citizenship, and empathy." The students and alumni of Ridgefield High School and the Ridgefield Public School system look forward to our educators and administrators taking this step in teaching its students to be active citizens. 

Click here for more anti-racism resources. 

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At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!