Racism is just not acceptable to district

Posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Recent racist activities brought forward a need to address the Juneau School District's stance on racism. I want to reassure all students and their families that racism and harassment are unacceptable in Juneau schools. The district has policies denouncing racism: "Accordingly, the Board does not tolerate discrimination against, or harassment of, any member of the Juneau school community." Each school has similar standards. The Juneau-Douglas High School Student Handbook reads: "Harassment, whether of sexual, racial or general in nature, is contrary to School District policy and will not be tolerated. Any student subject to or witnessing harassment should report it immediately to the building principal or school counselor."

What we learned last week is that although the district and school articulate their stand against harassment and racism, racism exists in the school and in the community. I want to thank the Coalition Against Racism and Discrimination in the Systems (C.A.R.D.S.) for inviting the students and the community to address racism at their meeting on Thursday evening. The session provided students and community members a positive forum to work on action steps that we can take to collaboratively combat the racist activities that the students described. All students should go to school free of fear. We need to do more to ensure that racism is not part of students' lives in our schools. I am grateful that the Central Council Youth Leadership Team and the JDHS Student Council are teaming on solutions to this important issue. The district will join with them and the school administration in implementing positive, definitive solutions for the good of our students, now and in the future.

Peggy Cowan


Juneau School District

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