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School board issues statement about community-unity commitment

School board issues statement about community-unity commitment

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The Hickory Public Schools Board of Education has issued a statement regarding recent events and sharing its commitment to “providing an educational environment free of racism.”

The statement explains how this commitment will affect teachers and students, administration and staff within the school district.

“We are compelled to speak out in opposition to any racist actions, conditions or attitudes in our community, state and nation. The Hickory Public Schools Board of Education (HPS) condemns acts of racism and solidifies our commitment to ‘Community-Unity’ within the school district, as evidenced by the statement below.”

The HPS Board of Education statement reads:

“It has been said that ‘what you permit, you promote.’ Silence in the face of racism and racist actions is complicity. We will not stand silent. We are compelled to speak out in response and opposition to acts and attitudes of racism within the schools and larger community, particularly in light of our status as elected officials.

“We are committed to creating and nurturing an educational environment free of racism of any sort where every child is equally respected and valued. We strive to ensure that inclusive teaching is employed throughout our district.

“Inclusive teaching refers to utilization of classroom approaches that address the needs of all students. Inclusivity in the classroom provides an environment in which all students feel that their contributions and perspectives are equally valued and respected.

“All students will be asked to be competitive workers in a society that assumes an ability to work in a multicultural world. For many, the ability to understand and appreciate cultural differences is developed through their educational experience. We must consciously increase and improve cultural awareness of all teachers, administrators, staff, and students within our district, as the manner in which we treat one another is a measure of our shared values and commitment to basic human dignity and worth.

“The HPS Board of Education is committed to providing culturally responsive instruction and leadership to transform educational opportunities for all students. Equity is parallel in seeking excellence in education; therefore, we stand committed, together, to help our district achieve results that will deliver well-rounded, socially and culturally adept people representative of humanity and good citizenship. With this mindset and application, we can ensure equity by recognizing, respecting, and attending to the diverse strengths and challenges of our students.”

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what the color.” — Maya Angelou

HPS Board of Education

Dr. Bryan Graham, Chairman

Ittiely Carson, Vice-Chairman

Members:

James Brinkley

Mike Heard

Beth Meadlock

Amy Monroe

Sarah Temple

Resolution on the Hickory Public Schools Community-Unity Commitment Statement

Whereas, the education and safety of the children of Hickory Public Schools is our top priority; and

Whereas, education has played a critical role in strengthening our society; and

Whereas, hateful rhetoric, including that directed against immigrants or people of color is harmful to children, as it has a negative impact on their psychological well-being, the health of their peer relationships, and their ability to thrive in school; and

Whereas, all students enrolled in Hickory Public Schools contribute in numerous ways to the vitality of the learning environment, and parents form an integral part of their school communities as well; and

Whereas, providing a safe school environment that ensures both the physical and emotional safety of students and staff creates the conditions necessary to foster academic achievement; and

Whereas, it is the responsibility of HPS to educate students about the social, cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States, with awareness of a wide range of cultural traditions, and to teach students to think critically about their own biases; and

Whereas, the HPS Board of Education firmly opposes racism in all forms at the interpersonal, internalized, organizational and systemic levels, and

Whereas, we believe each of us, individually and collectively, are responsible for nurturing educational learning environments where every child is respected and valued for who they are regardless of skin color, gender, sexual identity or orientation, ability or disability, or any other category, and

Whereas, Hickory Public Schools will further our commitment to fostering inclusive educational environments where no student is subject to harassment or abuse as a result of their identity; and

Whereas, Hickory Public Schools will further our commitment to community-unity, fostering inclusive educational environments where each person feels a sense of belonging and is treated with dignity and respect.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Education of Hickory Public Schools will support our school district with the Community-Unity Commitment Statement.

And therefore, be it resolved, that the Board of Education of Hickory Public Schools—

(1) Condemns all hateful speech and violent action directed to any of our students and staff, particularly any people of color;

(2) Commits to providing a school environment that promotes respect and affirmation of equality among humanity, and rejects all forms of bullying and discrimination;

(3) Commits to instituting school policies and setting an educational curriculum that reflects the values expressed in this resolution via training of staff and teachers, the inclusion of diverse resources to supplement in-class curricula, and the creation of safe havens for all students and staff.

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