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Board adopts resolution that will commit to diverse staff, changes in curriculum

PMG PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Students were the primary organizers of several recent protests in Lake Oswego.

The Lake Oswego School Board approved an anti-racism resolution at the meeting Monday, June 22, meeting some requests by the community for anti-racist actions to be taken.

The resolution, which vows to create a nurturing and anti-racist leaning environment, would commit the district to: continue the practice of recording and tracking racist incidents, dedicate time for culturally responsive professional development of staff, use an equity lens for future curriculum adoptions, and put practices in place that would lead to a more diverse workforce.

In doing so, the board met a lot of the requests from a group called LO Change, which gathered over 1,000 signatures on a petition asking the district to take actively anti-racist actions. The letter from LO Change asked the district to improve curriculum, record and track racist incidents and hire staff of diverse backgrounds, among other things.

The resolution the board approved did not, however, include one specific request of LO Change — reconsidering the presence of Student Resource Officers in school buildings.

Superintendent Lora de la Cruz mentioned the letter earlier that evening in her superintendent's update, noting the items the district already had underway, including tracking and recording racist incidents and updating the reading lists by removing outdated and stereotypical titles.

"We certainly do have a lot more work to do," de la Cruz said.

De la Cruz said she plans to bring the letter to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee for further discussion.

When it came time for questions and comments from the board, school board member John Wallin was quick to acknowledge LO Change's request for a reconsideration on the topic of SROs.

"You've addressed nearly every request in this and many of them are, as you mentioned, referred to in our resolution," Wallin said. He added that the request to reconsider SROs was the item he heard most commonly from students.

"I just want to acknowledge that one and acknowledge that I think it is one we need to address and talk about openly," Wallin said.

Board member Kirsten Aird said she agreed and "wanted to put a pin in that as well."

"I'm glad you brought that up, director Wallin, because I do feel that that is a really important topic and if we were going to be considering any changes we would need a community conversation to determine the best decision for all," de la Cruz said. "The bottom line is that if we are going to make any definite change it would be a community conversation."

You can view the full LOSD anti-racism resolution here.

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