Hershey, Pennsylvania – At its August 10 business meeting, the Derry Township School District Board of Directors adopted a resolution supporting the development of an anti-racist school climate.
According to the district website, the school board is committed to a 5-part plan to improve the current Diversity, Inclusion and Equity policy.
We commit to use our role as school board directors to recognize, respond, and speak out against injustice and racial inequity in our school community.DTSD Board of School Directors
Resolution Supporting the Development of an Anti-Racist School Climate by the Board of Directors of the Derry Township School District
WHEREAS, we are deeply saddened and outraged by the recent killing of George Floyd and violence against black men and women. The subsequent protests have shined a spotlight on the harmful effects of racism and inequality. Furthermore, the public response has highlighted the racial trauma that our black students, families, staff, and communities have not only endured for centuries but continue to face today.
WHEREAS, we must recognize that racism and hate have no place in our schools and society. However, we must understand that racism is systemic, and it is unconsciously and consciously rooted into our institutions, policies, and practices. Consequently, we acknowledge that we must look at our own school policies and practices through an anti-racist and equity lens to address traces of racism and inequity that still exist within our own school community.
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WHEREAS, we must center the voices of staff, students, families, and communities who have historically endured discrimination and marginalization. Their lived experiences and stories require attention, require respect, require empathy, and most importantly require action. Therefore, it is essential that we establish an expectation that a diversity of students, families, and community members, specifically those that have been ignored, discriminated against, and marginalized, are heard and included on substantive school and district issues.
WHEREAS, we must better educate ourselves and seek to educate the community on the historical and current impact of racism and discrimination on our students, families, and communities, as well as understand our role in perpetuating such inequity. Through continuous professional development and opportunities for honest dialogue and listening sessions, we hope to build partnerships in the community focused on overcoming racism and other barriers. By doing so, we can create opportunities to ensure that each child has the tools and supports needed to thrive.
WHEREAS, we must advocate to advance civil rights and cultivate an anti-racist school climate necessary to meet the needs of ALL students in our care. Our students, no matter their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language ability, disability, and other identities, deserve to feel safe, to feel seen, and to feel affirmed.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Derry Township School Board, unequivocally stand firm in our collective responsibility to foster an equitable and inclusive environment for every student, staff member, parent, and community member. We commit to use our role as school board directors to recognize, respond, and speak out against injustice and racial inequity in our school community.
In support of this goal, the Derry Township School Board commits to the following action steps:
1) Review and improve our current Diversity, Inclusion and Equity policy;
2) Adopt a new policy for trauma-informed care;
3) Continue to support the Administration’s enhancement of social emotional learning components, Positive Behavioral and Intervention Supports, and restorative justice techniques;
4) Continue to support the Administration’s examination of social studies and ELA curriculum for levels of diversity awareness, seeking information about inclusion, race, belonging, diversity, equity, and allyship; and
5) Continue to support the Administration’s partnerships with organizations such as Hershey Area All Things Diversity and the YWCA to offer continuous professional development and learning opportunities for our staff, students and community.
Adopted this 10th day of August, 2020.