LETTER TO THE EDITOR
To leaders and members of the West Bend community:
This is a list of initiatives we would like to see implemented in the West Bend School District.
Right now, the whole world is finally listening to the call for action against racial injustice. We want meaningful change to create a community that works for ALL people. We know that the West Bend School District did not adequately prepare us for an increasingly diverse and inclusive society. We also know that the demographics of West Bend are changing. If we are truly preparing all students for excellence, we must also educate students to become culturally competent and aware of their roles and platforms to dismantle white supremacy in our national culture.
1. Make a statement regarding WBSD’s stance on current events regarding police brutality, systemic racism, and social justice.
2. Remove police liaisons from schools.
3. Enhance and increase funding for counseling, youth programming, and rehabilitative programs to replace outdated disciplinary action. Counselors or workers in these positions need to be required to complete anti-racism training.
4. Hire Black educators and counselors. Establish a committee and funding for hiring and retaining them.
5. Require anti-racism training and professional development for faculty: administrators, educators, aides, etc. This training must be revisited over the course of faculty careers.
a. This should come from professional educators of color, with emphasis on Black educators.
6. Establish a new department or committee devoted to Diversity, Inclusion, and Equitable Education within Pupil Services. Give that committee time, funding, respect, and sustained attention. Release consistent reports and updates.
7. Support a DAI (diversity and inclusion) representative at School Board Meetings as an accountability measure and to ensure decisions made are genuinely for the benefit of students and working towards “Excellence for All.”
8. Restructure social studies curriculums and mandate lessons on privilege, oppression, and systemic racism. Create these lessons using resources from Black educators and POC leadership. Decolonize education by establishing ethnic studies requirements and incorporating Black History into curriculums. In other subjects, highlight the work and lives of Black and POC leaders, scientists, mathematicians, artists, etc.
9. Set community guidelines on what qualifies as hate speech and educate students on why it is considered hate speech.
10. Create a platform or space for students to give feedback and ideas to the school district about the pursuit of this initiative. Make anonymity an option. This is intended to elevate student voice and accountability, especially for Black students and students of color.
These initiatives must be revisited and reevaluated on a minimum of a biannual basis.
Jada Williams (she/they) / WBSD ‘07-’17
Olivia McClain (she/her) / WBSD ‘09-’18
Lindsay Kramer (she/her) / WBSD ‘06-’19
Alina Prahl (she/her) / WBSD ‘05-’18
(This letter is a revised version submitted by the authors. )
The Current welcomes submissions from all students, faculty, administrators and community members, but reserves the right to edit for length or content. Any column, editorial or letter to the editor expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the entire staff.