June 1, 2019
Letter to Editor ~ Opinion
Seeing all of the stuff going on with my former school district is very upsetting and disheartening. As a Black student who was in the LSR7 school district for 11 years and has experienced racism, I was hoping that Dr. Carpenter was going to be a Superintendent that would bring about the improvement that Lee’s Summit needed.
When I heard of the proposed equity plan I became ecstatic, but you can imagine my disappointment when hearing all of the individuals against this proposed plan — for reasons that I have been trying to understand but still cannot grasp.
If there is a clear achievement gap between whites and students of color, why not implement this equity plan that can help this gap?
Even if this plan does not help the achievement gap, it is clear that equity training is needed when you have a school district that has teachers who sing songs about “picking a bale of cotton”, a teacher who tells a student to take off her Hijab when it’s too hot in the classroom, a teacher who lines their students up by skin/hair color, a teacher who thinks that having black athletes means there is equity and inclusion, or a district where the board President attempts to equate being blonde to being black.
No one has said that the LSR7 school district is a bad school district, but like most things in life there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Why not start here? I have also seen a lot discussion regarding implicit/unconscious bias. Which I do not understand how that justifies what the teachers have done. Yes implicit and unconscious bias exist but that is not an excuse.
These biases happen when individuals are unaware that they have this bias. When equity and inclusion training happens these biases are called out which helps someone become aware that they have this bias. Which will allow them to become conscious of this bias. Therefore they have better opportunity and understanding to try and prevent this bias in the future.
Finally I understand that dialogue surrounding race, equity, prejudice, and etc. can be uncomfortable to talk about.
But imagine how uncomfortable it is for students of color in the school district when these incidents happen. This is not at all a bash on Lee’s Summit or the school district.
I am a former student who is concerned, especially with having a little sister who still has to graduate from the district. Thank you for your time.
Layana Sariah, Drake University 2022| Psychology Major | Neuroscience Minor