Racist incidents and systemic inequities at Eastern Carver County Schools have plagued the district for far too long. Harm sustained is serious and ongoing, Students’ and parents’ well-documented pleas for change have gone unanswered. Parents and students themselves understandably have increasing and unprecedented levels of distrust in school leadership. It threatens the educational, social and emotional development of all students. To insure measurable action and accountability we need to see the following, starting immediately:
Accountability to racial minority concerns. Including, 1. Equity and Inclusion placed as permanent item on all regular school board meeting agendas, with clearly stated and deadlined commitments, updates and quantified results; 2. Regular, ongoing and well-communicated public forums allowing community members to ask district leadership questions and receive candid answers; 3. Measured, documented and publicly announced results, findings and plans; and, 4. At least yearly “state of the solution” reports on specific measurable outcomes that are well-communicated in a public forum as well as news, district and social media, etc.
2. Restructure Equity Leadership & Advisory Groups
Restructure all equity leadership and advisory groups starting at the highest levels, including: 1. To include no less than representative numbers of racial minority parents, staff and/or community leaders (currently 24%) , with; 2. Published agendas and comprehensive minutes for all meetings.
3. Zero-Tolerance Anti-Racism Policy and Protocols
Zero-Tolerance policy on racism, discrimination and racist acts: 1. That is published, with; 2. Clear protocols that define required staff responses that include consequences by offense, with; 3. Deployment of defined processes to prevent and monitor retaliation by other students in the form of harassment, bullying, silencing or ostracizing of racial minority students beyond the targeted victims, and; 4. Immediate notification to all parents in the district when any racist incident has occurred. 5. After-action review of the district’s response by equity advisor group and/or qualified outside analyst with proven knowledge of effective responses to racism and victims of racism.
4. Trauma-Focused, Victim-Centered Support Protocols
Mandatory trauma-focused protocols for supporting victims consistent with relevant research Including: 1. A clear grievance process that doesn’t limit reports to school principals, allowing victims the option to direct complaints to equity advisory group(s), equity coordinator(s) and appropriate others. 2. Increased mental health support by a racial-trauma trained practitioner(s) for the victim. And potential others affected vicariously, if the incident happened on and in school property. 3. Two to three clear pathways for victim(s) to share their story with peers, overseen by an adult professionally educated in facilitating empathetic listening. Which includes opportunities for victim(s) to outline their needs as a result of the violation. 4. Ongoing and proactive follow-up for targeted students to insure solutions are and remain age-, student and incident-appropriate and reparative, and; 5. Monitor and prevent potential retaliation. 6. Scheduled, proactive follow ups with victims’ parents.
Robust racially- and ethnically-informed curricula, materials and pedagogies that: 1. Are approved by district parents of minority students and minority community members as well as respected civil rights educators. 2. Include narratives beyond common superficial, simplistic or White-centered Black History, and; 3. Incorporate district wide celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month at all schools, and: 4. Include enthusiastic support for minority students to proudly share their perspectives, including by utilizing principles of personalized learning that allow them to customize coursework with culturally relevant exercises and opportunities to regularly share their knowledge with other students and staff, and; 5. As well as regular and enthusiastically supported opportunities for ethnic minority students to engage in safe and respectful conversations with majoritarian classmates and teachers regarding inclusion and equity, emphasizing the voices and lived-experience of minority students.
6. Change Chaska High School Leadership
Change the leadership of Chaska High School to be replaced with a professional with documented, proven commitment to the full needs and potentials of all students. Three of four racist incidents in the past six months have involved this school. Mishandling by school leadership has illuminated persistent misconduct evident in what appears to be barely-concealed disregard for minority students, their safety, educational and emotional health. It likely contributes to a pattern of increasingly aggressive targeting by the school's students. As well as to the repression of cultural education and emotional development of majority (white) students.
Significant, accelerated and sustained increases in hiring and retention of racial minority teachers and administrators: 1. Beyond the minimalist numbers outlined by existing plans and evidenced in unkept promises. Nearly a quarter of district students are racial minorities, but less than 1% of their teachers and almost no district administrators are! 2. Mandatory ongoing training for all staff and leadership in Black History, contemporary immigrant and refugee issues, implicit bias, microaggressions, cultural identity, white privilege, institutional and systemic racism scheduled not less than yearly that does not replace, but, is in addition to other initiatives.
8. Monthly updates provided publicly and prominently.
Monthly updates at regular school board meetings, starting 1. At the May 2019 school board meeting; and, 2. Posted prominently on the school website no less than monthly,
It's Time To Act District 112.
Parents and students have waited long enough. For years we have heard all the right words, but, for those same years we have yet to see anything close to your oft-promised changes. By some measures, things are getting worse. Continued racism and inequity in our schools is a public health and academic emergency. We expect a prompt response indicating your commitment to our above informed and reasonable demands. These changes can no longer be delayed for the sake of our children and the well-being of our community and schools. We'll do our part, but, what we will no longer do is wait for you to do yours.
Residents Organized Against Racism (R.O.A.R) Webpage: