School Committee Adopts Anti-Racism Resolution
Members of the School Committee adopted a resolution promoting diversity and inclusion on June 30. Chairperson Kim Sluter explained the statement, crafted by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC), has been adopted by 100 school districts throughout the state. The resolution reads in part: WHEREAS, every district will incorporate into their curriculum the history of racial oppression and works by black authors and works from diverse perspectives; and WHEREAS, we as school district leaders can no longer remain silent to the issues of racism and hate that continue to plague our public and private institutions; RESOLVED: that [District] and all the school districts in the Commonwealth must guarantee that racist practices are eradicated, and diversity, equity and inclusion is embedded and practiced for our students, families, faculty and staff.
“Students need to learn about racism so we as a country can finally eliminate it,” Superintendent Rich Drolet said via e-mail. “We are a learning institution and this topic is critically important,” Drolet continued. “It is imperative for me as the superintendent, working with administrators and teachers, to lead efforts to ameliorate racism and address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusiveness.”
“As a school district it is our collective responsibility to work together to make progress in revising any outdated curricula, educating our students as to the insidious nature of racism, and thinking about the role we all play in moving our society to a more just society,” Sluter said Wednesday. “The district recognizes that this work needs to involve all staff and all students and this resolution is just one step in that direction,” Sluter explained. “It is the superintendent's role to lead efforts to address equity, diversity, and inclusiveness in our school community and the superintendent will continue to reevaluate what we can do as a district to ensure that we teach our students to change behaviors and consider other viewpoints out of respect for all of humanity. We are proud to be part of a community that embraces continuous improvement.”
“This work will take time and it must involve staff, students, and families,” Drolet said. “I have done some work with our district leadership team to address implicit bias' and next we plan to work with all staff, likely with some outside consultants with expertise in this area, to develop and implement meaningful professional learning experiences to promote equity.”
“I have already had a few Seekonk parents who have experience with this work reach out to me to share resources,” Drolet added. “Most recently, I participated in a Book Club led by one of our high school teachers, Morgan Hellmold. A good number of teachers and a few high school students participated. Mrs. Hellmold did a fantastic job leading virtual meetings that implored us to be reflective about race. We listened and learned from each other, and she should be commended for leading such important discussions that are relevant in our society today. This kind of learning experience needs to be replicated.”