A Message from the Weld RE-4 Board of Education

A Message from the Weld RE-4 Board of Education
Posted on 07/17/2020
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To: Weld RE-4 School District Community

From: Weld RE-4 School District Board of Education

Subject: Looking, listening, and identifying where we can make improvements that will bring people together, demonstrate dignity for all, and provide hope for the future

 


 

Tragic events in our nation related  to racial injustices have sparked a call for action in recent months. In Weld RE-4, we are looking, listening, and identifying where we can make improvements that will bring people together, demonstrate dignity for all, and provide hope for the future. As we act, we do so assuming the best in others, but also holding ourselves and our community to a high standard. 

Current circumstances offer opportunities for us to reflect on where we fall short and to embrace areas of growth. This starts with educating ourselves on the needs of our students and staff and learning about their experiences. We are fortunate to have a board policy in place to guide our work and promote a collaborative and unified approach to addressing discrimination and harassment. However,  we know that a policy must be enforced to be effective, and that our staff must be trained to identify actions and behaviors that are not only inconsistent with policy, but the high standards we have as a community for treating each other with respect, dignity, and kindness. While we recognize that a policy alone is not  enough, it is our contract with students, staff, and stakeholders and, as such, it is important to our ability to make progress. 

In Weld RE-4, we believe diversity is inherently valuable. Our community is stronger when people of varied backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives work and learn together and are united to succeed. We are committed to every day actions that are consistent with this belief. Below, we offer an overview of how board policy is helping our district address discrimination and harassment as well as some steps we are taking to pursue a journey of understanding and overcoming.

How Weld RE-4 Addresses Discrimination and Harassment

School board policy AC addresses discrimination and harassment. Specifically, it documents the district’s commitment to providing a safe learning and work environment where all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect. It recognizes that the schools in our district are subject to all federal and state laws and constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination and harassment of any kind, including on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, ancestry, and other categories protected by law. Policy AC goes further, identifying several aligned objectives of the school district including:

  •  To encourage positive experiences in terms of human values for children and adults who have differing personal and family characteristics or who come from various socio-economic, racial, and ethnic groups.
  • To consider carefully, in all decisions made which affect the schools, the potential benefits or adverse consequences that those decisions might have on the human relations aspects of all segments of society.

  • To utilize educational experiences to build each individual's pride in the community in which he or she lives.

  • To investigate and appropriately discipline staff and students found to be responsible for incidents of harassment or discrimination in violation of district policy.

Students and staff who believe they have been a victim of discrimination or harassment, or who have witnessed discrimination or harassment are, by policy, required to immediately report and file a complaint. Further, we expect all district employees who witness discrimination or harassment to take prompt and effective action to stop it, not just because they are required to do so by policy, but because it is the right thing to do.  

As a district we investigate allegations of discrimination and harassment to end such behavior, to prevent the recurrence of such behavior, and to prevent retaliation against individuals who file complaints and/or participate in the investigation. When we determine that incidents of discrimination or harassment are occurring in district settings or activities, we are committed to working with individuals who are impacted to remedying the problem. This includes taking reasonable action to restore lost educational or employment opportunities to individuals affected by the discrimination or harassment. Students or employees who engage in discrimination or harassment in violation of district policy are disciplined and training related to recognizing and preventing discrimination and harassment may be required for staff members in the department or school where the violation occured. In cases involving potential criminal conduct, appropriate law enforcement officials are involved.

Pursuing a Journey of Understanding and Overcoming

In Weld RE-4 we recognize the opportunity before us. In addition to leaning into policy AC and the framework it provides for addressing discrimination and harassment, we are reflecting on organizational attitudes regarding racism. On our journey of understanding and overcoming, we acknowledge the important role that we as educators play in reaffirming values children learn at home with regard to  finding the good in others, valuing differences, and treating others with respect. As a district, there are things we can and will do to improve including: 

  • Reviewing and improving (if needed) how policy AC and its stated complaint process is referenced in student and employee handbooks and is communicated and accessible to students, staff, and members of the public.

  • Reminding students and staff of their rights and responsibility to report discrimination and harassment as victims or witnesses and communicating about the structures, people, and processes that are in place to support them in making such reports. 

  • Enhancing training opportunities for administrators and staff related to recognizing, reacting to, reporting, communicating, and preventing discrimination and harassment.

  • Considering carefully the potential benefits or adverse consequences of curriculum and materials related to all segments of society.