Dr. Brad Ebert, superintendent of the Kiel Area School District, and community members took part in the second discussion on diversity at the Kiel Community Center and virtually on Monday, Jan. 11.
The diversity discussion started because of a situation of racist remarks made by a student about another student on social media. During the first discussion, it was brought to community members’ attention that there is racism happening not only in the schools but also in Kiel and the surrounding communities. Police Chief Dave Funkhouser attended the first meeting and commented on racism that he has personally experienced and seen in the community.
Dr. Ebert stated at the beginning of Monday’s meeting, “The School District has taken the last meeting very seriously. Our goal is to make sure all people in the community and in the schools feel welcome regardless of beliefs, race, and background. We should provide a school district where everyone is welcome.”
The School District has taken several steps based on conversations from the first meeting. Administration and other key personnel met with the school attorney to review policies on racism and harassment. Staff members also have gone through mock scenarios on racism and bullying.
KASD and staff have reviewed curriculum and are looking at the potential for anti-racist education. This curriculum could look at how certain actions affect students. It also could possibly include looking at the historical events involving racism. Dr. Ebert said, “By offering these types of classes, we hope to raise up-standers instead of by-standers.”
Dr. Ebert reached out to other superintendents across the state to find out what leadership classes other districts have offered and said he was overwhelmed with their responses. He said there are a lot of good models across the state at which to look.
The middle and high schools are working on creating a student survey to understand underlying issues in the schools. Once the district has the results from these surveys, they will have a better understanding of how to tackle the issues, he said.
(For more on this story please see the Jan. 14 issue of the Tri-County News.)