The San Marin Student Equity Team (SMET), has been working on developing an Anti-Racist Resolution, which was passed by the NUSD Board of Trustees on January 12, 2021. SMET’s focus is to educate and inform staff, students, and NUSD administrators in order to unify them as an anti-racist community. The Anti-Racist Resolution was constructed to ensure that the community recognizes the ways in which institutional racism harms BIPOC students’ educational experience. The goal of the resolution is to implement policies and practices to combat systemic racism.
Student Equity members have been brainstorming ways to help educate San Marin and NUSD as a whole about racism on campus. Sophomore Mahalia Morgan and junior Mizauni Reese worked together with Phoebe Smith, Restorative Justice Lead Specialist, and Wesley Swedlow, English and Philosophy teacher, to draft an Anti-Racist Resolution. The Anti-Racist Resolution is centered around making schools a safer place for black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) by implementing anti-racist education into the curriculum. Lines 27 through 30 of this resolution state: “This board commits itself not only to address the symbols of institutional racism and white supremacy, but also to proactively identify and disrupt biases, practices, policies, and remove institutional barriers that perpetuate injustice and inequality in our schools and community.”
The main goal of the Anti-Racist Resolution is to inform, educate, and hold students and teachers accountable in regards to being an anti-racist community member. Morgan believes that the administration is not putting in enough effort to publicize or teach the contents of the resolution to the students and teachers.
“I want to see the resolution being actively implemented in classrooms,” Morgan said. “It has to be more strongly enforced by the board and the administration; that way students are not just hearing about it once.”
Reese shares a similar viewpoint to Morgan and emphasized how important the passing of this resolution was to our community.
“Students are struggling, students are suffering, so of course we passed the Anti-Racist Resolution to see some type of change,” Reese said. “But this is not just a message, it is supposed to be an action statement, and that is what we expect out of everyone. We expect action rather than words, and we all have to try harder and work together in order for that to happen.”
In order to help the students get this resolution passed by the board of trustees, Smith explained the urgency behind publicizing the resolution and the future next steps that must be taken from this point forward.
“How can we have a diverse student body, a diverse staff, and not have a stance about their treatment and their inclusion,” Smith said. “The Anti-Racist Resolution allows community members more clarity by showing them that we are considering and including and accepting all students.”
The next step in this process will be the passing of policies that the students have to hold themselves accountable to. Equity leaders have stated that this next step will be a way for the Anti-Racist Resolution to be brought into the classrooms and it will directly tell the students how to conduct themselves on campus.
“They need to have a policy for anti-racism up in the classrooms, and that is the next step,” Smith said. “The district stated that they agree to addressing the current systems which are not anti-racist. Every classroom from kindergarten to twelfth grade will have this policy as a sight framework for how they interact and engage.”
Compiling the statements into the resolution and getting them approved by the NUSD board of trustees took effort from many dedicated individuals. Now that it has been passed, administrators are in the position of publicizing and enforcing the resolution. The Teacher Equity Team, which consists of teachers and staff members, works together with the Student and Community Equity Groups. They feel that the resolution would be gaining higher viewership if it were more accessible on NUSD’s website.
Kimberly Laabs, a math teacher at San Marin, explained that the resolution does not clearly stand out on any of the NUSD website pages.
“This year 21 resolutions have been adopted and passed by the board, and there is a list of them on the website,” Laabs said. “The Anti-Racist Resolution is just lumped in there, it is hard to find, and it has definitely not been made front and center. You cannot work on equity if you do not address the racist practices and policies that happen on campus.”
Laabs, along with many members of the Teacher Equity Group feel that change can and will not happen unless everyone takes action to recognize current racist systems.
“Therefore, this resolution should be front and center on NUSD’s website so that we can have equity in education, and we have to recognize where the systemic racist practices have been in order to bring equity to all students,” Laabs said.
The San Marin Equity Groups have been working to implement anti-racist systems into the curriculum. The Anti- Racist Resolution reflects their goals, as it is an active document that can be a reference for the policies that are publicized in classrooms.