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Group Comes Together To Address Equity Concerns In Springfield Public Schools

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Bailey Vassalli
/
KSMU

Following some racially-charged events at schools in the area, a group has come together to address concerns about equality issues. In a recent press conference, this group introduced seven areas of concern that it says require cooperation and collaboration. 

 

When Springfield Public Schools released their student engagement report last fall, the district announced it would establish a community work team to address issues of diversity and inclusion. The district is working to organize a team. But some feel more needs to be done following recent incidents in Springfield public schools, including a video made by a Kickapoo High School student in which the student makes racial slurs aimed at black classmates.

In response, Mark Dixon, along with other community leaders, created the Community Education Coalition for Springfield Public Schools Equity.

“There is an urgency to publicly address and act to resolve the historical disproportionate risk factors for African-American, Latino and other historically under-represented students as outlined in the school district’s student engagement assessment released September 2018,” Mark Dixon said.

These seven areas of concern deal with buildings, facilities and contracting; SPS workforce recruitment, hiring and retention; cultural awareness, having the black community represented in curriculum and staff training; equitable implementation of discipline policies and redress opportunities; resource reallocation; having an executive level chief equity and diversity officer; and having a robust student, parental, and community engagement agreement.

Springfield Public Schools spokesman, Stephen Hall, said the district is committed to equity within its schools.

“We appreciate these community leaders for sharing their perspectives with us and providing helpful feedback as we continue to evaluate our ongoing work in regard to equity and diversity to determine what is working well and also identify some opportunities for improvement,” Stephen Hall said.

The Community Education Coalition’s full public statement can be found online at spsitsimperative.com.