Laurel Ridge: A School Community Focused on Working Towards Racial Equity
One of the strengths of the LRE community is the diversity of families, teachers, and students that create our school. Our students and teachers represent many races, ethnicities, and nationalities, students are part of various family constellations, many religions are represented, and we teach students of all physical and learning abilities.
However, in our society, and in our school, we don't all have the same experiences. The Laurel Ridge DEI committee seeks to identify and name bias, unlearn harmful behaviors, and offer solutions that enhance the equity for everyone at our school.
At the start of the school year, the DEI Committee hosted a training for our DEI Committee members and PTA Executive Board led by Kimberlie Milton at Restore More that was focused on viewing educational spaces and our work as a PTA through an anti-racist lens. Anti-racism work is continuous and active, and the Restore More training grounded our committee in a shared understanding of the impact of racism in schools for black and brown students.
For example, did you know that 55% of all suspensions of Black students happen in just 13 Southern states? In Georgia specifically, 37% of enrolled students are Black, but account for 67% of suspensions. This is often as a result of discriminatory policies, or the inequitable application of disciplinary policies. This pattern can be seen as early as preschool.
Much of this inequity stems from structural racism, which we explored throughout the Restore More training. We invite you to learn more about the various types of racism,and other foundational learnings, by reviewing the full training here or at the video above. This way, we can each play a role in recognizing and reducing the impact of racism in our school community.
Creating a school community that authentically includes each member requires consistent, daily work. The Restore More training outlined several ways we can take daily actions towards this goal as aspiring allies. Those are:
Understanding your privilege and use it for good. Educate yourself. (start with the Restore More training above, in fact!)
Accept that you will be uncomfortable. Discomfort is where learning happens.
Listen to those most affected and follow their lead.
Speak up when you hear a racist myth or discriminatory statement.
Use your platform to elevate the voices of people who experience racism.
Support anti racist policies that have the potential to create systemic change.
We’d love to have you on board to support the work of the DEI committee and our school in general. If you’re interested in joining the DEI Committee, email firstname.lastname@example.org.