Responding to Racism, Discriminatory Language, and Hateful Acts
Oprima aquí para ver esta información en español.
In spring 2019, District 65 rolled out a protocol for responding to racism, discriminatory language, and hateful acts in our schools. When students have these experiences a thoughtful, meaningful, and timely response is the collective responsibility of our educators, administrators, and support staff. All staff will intervene whenever situations have the potential to cause physical or emotional harm. We are committed to being decisive both in prevention and response in ways that do not mitigate the impact of the action on any targeted student. District 65 staff have reviewed and discussed the protocol during professional a learning session this spring.
Foundational Beliefs: Why a Protocol is Needed
Successful all-school work also includes identifying certain non-negotiables for teachers, administrators, students, and families. These beliefs and practices must be established as part of our schools’ guiding principles before incidents take place; they serve as a foundation for developing responses and plans of actions after any incident of racism, discriminatory language, or hateful acts. These non-negotiables include, but are not limited to:
- A person’s race is never used as a put-down or insult
- A person’s identity is never used as a way to hurt or exclude someone
- Discriminatory and hateful language, including racial slurs, are never acceptable
- Knowing what a hate crime is and how to report it:
- A hate crime is when someone commits a crime for a biased reason. This includes: race, religion, national origin, LGBTQ status, gender, gender identity, physical or mental disability.
- Hate crimes can include: Assault, bullying, cyberstalking, harassment (including threatening by telephone, by email, and via social media), trespass, disorderly conduct, mob action, damage to property, and/or graffiti/vandalism
Following a racial incident at Willard school, Jasmine Sebaggala had a call to action for the school community to do something more in addressing issues of racism in a more a structured, intentional, and responsive way. Based on her advocacy and support of her fellow teachers and administrators Willard School’s school climate team created the Call to Action - Protocol for Responding to Hateful Language and Actions at School, with contributions by Meghan Rice, Chris Skoglund, Emily Castillo-Oh, Adrian Gancarczyk, Lara Galicia, Brittany Noble, Khloe Battle, Alejandra Neri, Frances Blair-Collins, Jerry Succes, and Jerry Michel. The Willard team shared this version with district office to use as a base for what is now called D65 Call to Action - Responding to Racism, Discriminatory Language, and Hateful Acts.
This document was brought to principals and assistant principals to incorporate district-wide building-level perspectives and also includes valuable feedback from members of the District Equity Leadership Team, members of the African American, Black, and Caribbean (ABC) parent group, Black Parents of King Arts group, Bilingual Parent Advisory Committee (BPAC), Asociaión de Familias Hispanas District 65 (AFHD65), D65 parents whose children have had documented experiences with racism, and school and district leadership.
The protocol is based on A Guide for Administrators, Counselors, and Teachers: Responding to Hate and Bias at School (Teaching Tolerance). Steps included in this protocol include:
- Initiating fact-finding to better understand the situation
- Electronic documentation of the incident, including investigation notes and statements from affected students and witnesses
- Clear and timely communication to necessary stakeholders, including families, school staff, and district administration
- Engaging school improvement and climate teams in determining the appropriate interventions; establish networks that center on diverse voices and perspectives
- Involving classroom teachers in support for both targeted and offending students
- Professional resources and consultation (provided by the district) for any teachers or administrators needing additional guidance to respond appropriately and with urgency
- Follow-up activities or responses for classrooms/grade levels/whole school, as necessary, depending on the scope of the event
- Guidance on restorative practices that focus consequences on deeper, more authentic learning and understanding of racism, hateful language, discriminatory acts, and bias
The protocol includes response and action plans, documentation templates, guidelines for discussing race, references and resources, and evaluative measures. We continue to encourage and reinforce the use of tools from Courageous Conversations training to navigate issues of race among our students. In addition, we remain committed to restorative justice practices, in many cases, bringing together a circle of parents, family members, and educators to discuss candidly what transpired and how we might move forward in a constructive and peaceful manner.
Talking About Race
Discussing issues of race may create discomfort which is sometimes grounded in uncertainty about how to discuss with our children. For families that wish to engage on topics including race, racism, Black joy, and White privilege, our team has compiled some resources that may be supportive as you engage in your own learning and preparation for a conversation with your children.
Embrace Race: Why and How to Talk to Kids About Race
Contrary to the common belief that young children “don’t see race," a mountain of research evidence confirms that racial awareness starts early. We know that within a few months of birth, babies prefer own-race faces, and that by roughly age three, kids start to form judgments about others based on racial differences. And by kindergarten, kids perceive that different racial groups have different social status.
As caregivers, we teach our kids about race, whether we do so intentionally or not. But we’re not the only ones teaching them. Kids learn about race every day and from everywhere - in their neighborhoods and schools; from media, books, and toys; and from everyone they interact with, including in their homes.
Given the pervasiveness of the racial messages kids are exposed to and the damage many of those messages can cause, the question for caregivers is not whether we should communicate - thoughtfully and deliberately - with even the youngest children about race. Of course we should. The question really is: how can we do that work well?
Article with Webinar:
- 10 Tips for Teaching and Talking to Kids about Race,
- 10 Tips for Teaching and Talking to Kids about Race (Spanish)
- Action Guide: You can do it! Talking to Young Children About Race by Nicol Russell, Ed.D
- Action Guide: You can do it! Talking to Young Children About Race (Spanish) by Nicol Russell, Ed.D
Books for Adults
Books for Children
Talking about Differences:
Introducing Ideas of Race and Racism:
- 9 Anit-Racist Children’s Books To Teach Kids About Diversity (Parents, 6/4/2020)
Ideas for Discussing White Privilege:
- How to Explain White Privilege in Terms Simple Enough for a Child (Parents, 9/5/2020)
- Teaching 6 Year Olds About Power and Privilege (KQED, 9/17/2019)