SUPPORTING AN ANTI-RACIST SCHOOL CLIMATE
BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE AVONWORTH SCHOOL DISTRICT
At the July 13, 2020 meeting of the Avonworth School District Board of Directors, the School Board adopted a resolution supporting an anti-racist school climate. Below is a statement from the President of the Avonworth School District Board of Directors, Mr. Beau Blaser. Please use the link above to access the resolution.
July 17, 2020
Over the course of the past several weeks, the United States finds itself facing the effects of racism and violence in our country. To complicate matters further, this is happening during a worldwide pandemic. Our nation’s children are scared, confused, and have the need to feel safe while all of us struggle to understand and make sense of the situations and our options for possible solutions. The challenges we face as a society are real and profound, and they will not be overcome in a day. However, they will never be overcome if our schools are not effective in the critical work ahead.
There is a long history of public education in our country tracing back to the inspiring ideas of thought leaders such as Horace Mann and Booker T. Washington. Both believed that only through education would our society be able to effectively provide opportunity and give people an informed voice in our democracy. In order for this to be possible, the school environment we foster must be free from hateful speech and actions that encourage discrimination and violence. The Avonworth School Board’s work on and adoption of the resolution on July 13, 2020 reaffirmed our commitment to support and maintain an anti-racist, safe, and inclusive school environment that provides an equal opportunity for all students in each and every one of our school programs. There is no place for racism in our country, especially in our nation’s schools.
Avonworth is a vibrant school community; a teaching and learning environment where all of our children can be their authentic selves without a fear involving the effects of negative stereotypes or prejudices. As residents and parents ourselves, our Board has recommitted to recognize, respond to, and speak out against all injustice, including any racial injustice, in our schools.
Working with our talented and committed administration and teachers, we will continue to do our part to raise awareness and educate our students so that when they see injustice, they will have the skills necessary to become part of the solution. Our resolution also makes a commitment to support the professional growth of our teachers and staff by focusing on unconscious bias training, exploring partnerships with diverse schools, and supporting the continued work of our Diversity Committee.
We also want to empower our students by guiding them as they lend their experiences and voice in the conversation through student clubs in school, encouraging the celebration of family heritage through a multi-cultural festival, and the implementation of a “No Place for Hate” program in our Middle and High Schools. Additionally, the creation and use of an annual stakeholder survey will provide a new channel for feedback on underlying cultural sensitivity/social justice/equity issues.
The Avonworth School District has continually undertaken self-reflective practices to ensure that we are offering the best possible education for every child in our community. Adopting this resolution will support the furtherance of our positive, constructive, and affirming school environment. I am proud of our community for doing its part to ensure that we stand together against racism. Each of us comes from different backgrounds and have unique stories to tell. Upholding a school culture that builds awareness and cultivates the skills in our students to have open dialogue around difficult issues is one avenue that we can use to encourage tolerance, understanding, and positive change in our society.
Mr. Beau Blaser, President
Avonworth School District Board of Directors