District 203 Equity Statement Aims to Overcome Racism

District 203 Equity Statement Aims to Overcome Racism

This morning Naperville School District 203 passed an equity statement in an effort to try and overcome systematic racism and end racial injustice in the district.

Equality For Students

The statement is in conjunction with District 203’s board members and its administration, and pledges to undo inequities within the district’s policies and practices to “create a truly equitable environment for all students”.

“We’ve made a lot of public comment on our position on racism and that it has no place in our schools,” said District 203’s Superintendent Dan Bridges. “Acknowledging it exists and we want to work to ensure that we are eradicating that from our schools. Formalizing this to a board resolution, I think, puts a little bit more skin in the game and a little bit more teeth behind our words.”

Previous & Future Work

The statement highlights some of the district’s previous work, which sought to create a more diverse and inclusive environment in its schools. One of those efforts was the district’s process of revising its “curriculum and instruction to represent and affirm diverse people, cultures, experiences, and perspectives”, something that district students have been asking for.

“We have to really make a strong stance that racism has no place in our school and no place in our communities,” said Board President Kristin Fitzgerald. “We’re going to do everything in our power to eradicate it and to create a truly a truly equitable environment for all students…we’re very proud of the things we have done, but we know we have a long way to go.”

The statement pledges seven things:

  1. Continued programmatic funding to achieve equitable student outcomes;
  2. Systemic review of policies, practices, programs, curricula and culture to undo inequities and achieve a district culture that is inclusive, celebrates diversity and truly achieves equity for all students;
  3. Elevation of student voices in a collaborative partnership to effect positive systemic change in our schools, community and nation.
  4. Partnership with and deliberate engagement and inclusion of all families;
  5. Recognition of the deep value of a diverse staff and administration, and the continued effort to recruit and retain employees of color;
  6. Acknowledgement of ourselves as leaders in the effort to transform our schools and communities; the long-term commitment for action and results and the desire to be held accountable for the changes we seek.
  7. Use of our voices as representatives of the community proactively to speak out against acts of racial and social injustice as we recognize that it is not enough to support justice, we must be against injustice.

The board wants the community to hold them accountable to uphold their pledges.

“I ask when the community comes to us and talks to us on how important this [equity statement] is to them take document as a way to keep us accountable,” said Board Member Janet Yang Rohr. “We have our commitments here and I think this document shows we want to do even more.”

The full equity statement can be found on the district’s website.

Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.

 

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