2020-6-25 Board Member Report
Revised for publication.
First I would like to thanks our student board member Allison Alston, who has demonstrated a strong leadership. When I saw her performance at Reservoir High School’s Black History Month, I was really surprised and admired. You are a super star. We will miss you.
Today, I will talk about something different. The nation is watching the hardship, struggle and pain the African American community are experiencing. As a community member and a school board member, I share the same pain and the same concern: Where are we going? How can we get to the point where injustice will go away? When will everyone have the same opportunity to pursue their dreams and reach their full potential?
Two recent events highlighted here:
- I read the petition from more than 400 HCPSS high school students shared with the board. A 2015 Glenelg High School graduate is leading the campaign. Glenelg High School unfortunately had been on the newspaper front page for several racist incidents. Just reading the petition, for example:
- Some students called black students “N word” and there were no consequences.
- Some teachers could not remember Asian American Students’ names or faces in a small classroom for half the semester. Some of our staff could not pronounce students’ family names.
- Some staff or teachers discouraged African American students or Latino American students from entering into AP classes.
- Many community members called me regarding a recent social media post from an HCPSS administrator. They feel the post was insensitive and offensive. They believe our officials should have been more thoughtful and responsible when they express their opinions publicly, which includes clicking the “like” button on social media platforms.
All these events made me think: What can we do to eliminate explicit and implicit biases, microaggression, discrimination and oppression? How can we systematically implement the necessary actions steps?
The questions are tough to answer as we are naturally inclined to find a fast and easy way out, yet unsuccessfully so. The inconvenient truth is, only when we are able to face the reality truthfully and do self-reflecting and soul-searching, we are able to move forward. We can aim big, however, we should act small, starting with incremental steps for which we have the ability to execute as well as to examine the outcomes each step along the way.
I agree that HCPSS should include more anti-bias training to help our workforce to better connect with the students and families. These connections will create stronger motivations for our students to work hard and also provide more opportunities for them to excel. We also need to increase culture proficiency training.When we do so, we need to ensure that everyone is included. No individuals or groups should feel being ignored, marginalized, discriminated against and/or oppressed.
I agree that HCPSS should work hard to reduce bias during the hiring process to increase workforce diversity and leadership diversity. When we do so, we need to ensure that everyone is included. No individuals or groups should feel being ignored, marginalized, discriminated against and/or oppressed.
I agree that HCPSS should include a more diverse curriculum to help our students expand their learning horizon which will promote better cross-group, cross-culture understanding and respect. When we do so, we need to ensure that everyone is included. No individuals or groups should feel being ignored, marginalized, discriminated against and/or oppressed.
I want to make a motion:
The Howard County Board of Education denounces any bias and racism towards African American, Asian American, Latino American, Muslim American, LGBT community, and any other groups who have been ignored, marginalized, discriminated against and/or oppressed.