Even as one local group born of Astroturf seeks to ban books and implement a “cancel culture” mentality in the school districts, parents affiliated with local, grassroots group OneWillCo in Williamson County took to the School Board meeting last night to speak in favor of diversity and inclusion.
Here’s a press release highlighting comments made by members/supporters of the group:
Alanna Truss, a clinical psychologist and parent of a Woodland Middle School and Kenrose Elementary School student, spoke in favor of moving forward ‘Fostering Healthy Solutions’. “For students who may be facing these challenges [discrimination and mental health], knowing that the board sees them as important increases the likelihood they will reach out for support. Our students also need to feel that their schools are prioritizing these issues, that school staff are a safe outlet, and that appropriate action will be taken. We need to equip our school personnel as well as our students to know what to look for and what their role is in responding. ‘See something, say something’ is a great slogan but it only works if individuals know what those ‘somethings’ are and they have confidence that something will be done.
Kate Keese, mother of a high school student in the WCS school system started by thanking the board members and Superintendent Golden for making efforts toward a safe and accountable school experience for all students and encouraged them to implement suggestions made by ‘Fostering Healthy Solutions’. “It seems to me that the work of Fostering Healthy Solutions is like preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. We want to be sure that we have considered everyone because we want everyone to feel welcome and know they have a place. I have taken several courses through my church over the last year and a half, exploring our country’s history and the legacies of that history. It has been a challenging and illuminating journey. There was much I didn’t know, and much I have yet to learn. At times it has been uncomfortable. We have come to believe we should avoid discomfort, but discomfort is how we grow. And now that I know better, I can do better…Learning our history is a worthwhile journey as it prepares me to set a more inclusive table. Taking the steps outlined in the plan from Fostering Healthy Solutions may be uncomfortable and, we will learn; where to add another chair and how to make a new dish, to welcome another person at the table. Because there is enough. And we always better when more of us are gathered and welcome and know we have a place.”
Lisa Rooney, a WCS parent also spoke in favor of the district’s continuing equity efforts, “Research is clear that students do not reach their full potential when they have concerns about their belonging, which is fundamental to well-being and academic success. Prioritizing belonging benefits all students by leveraging the science of learning. Creating environments where students of all races and backgrounds feel that they belong requires knowledge, skill, and commitment from adults. It takes courage to acknowledge our blind spots and to implement curriculum and policies that reflect and value the lived experiences of diverse students. It takes willingness, ongoing learning opportunities and partnership. It won’t just happen because we are well-intentioned, but it will make our schools better for ALL students. I am here to ask the board to, as a starting point, adopt a universal definition of diversity, equity, and inclusion alongside a strategic plan with clear goals and measurable outcomes so that we can fulfill our mission and ensure all students thrive.”
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