A recent racial hatred incident at North Marion calls for recognition and discussion about racism in and around our schools. Although the large majority of students and parents agree with racial equity and respect for all people, it is not everyone. As a community (and a country), we must continue the journey to equality through discussion and cultural learning. Our schools are the foundation for the continuous evolution of this journey.
So when a racially based incident occurs at our schools, either to a student or an employee, our community needs to recognize it by opening the doors of constructive discussion on values. In this case, a teacher/coach was referred to by a racial epithet. We ask that our education system look at all students as individuals with respect, and I ask the community to do the same for our educators.
It is critical for students to see that leadership and community contribution comes in all colors and sizes. Students of all backgrounds need to see that leaders are recognized by their talent and skills — not their skin color. We can achieve this by having a diversity in educators in every community and respecting one another regardless of ethnicity. Our student population is diverse, and research is abundant that diversity in educators improves academic performance.
I ask our community, and all communities in the State of Oregon, to work together to overcome the long history of implicit bias that stereotypes citizens of color. These biases can extend to economic status aswell. We all have to respect one another to lift ourselves to the common goal of creating a world that our kids deserve.
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