MCCSC fights against racism with new policy

Ashton Crosley, Staff Writer, Ad Manager

Monroe County Community School Corporation has added an anti-racism policy to all of its school handbooks. Student ambassadors have been pushing for this policy for quite a while, and their determination has finally led to a success. Originally, adoption of the policy – that was voted on at the January 31st board meeting – was tabled, as called for by the students. The previous policy wasn’t as direct as people wanted it to be; it concentrated on treating everyone equally instead of focusing on how to combat racism already happening in schools. Since the policy had been updated and renamed Anti Racism, the students, community members, and school board members were ready to pass this important action. 

Many people agree that while this policy might not be perfect yet, the protection it will offer is long overdue, and it was best to implement it for now. One implementation of this policy at South will be the introduction of a new reporting system for any kind of discrimination, whether that is racism or homophobia, or something else. A major impact of this new policy is to challenge bias in our schools and to ensure that everyone feels safe at school.

“You can’t learn unless you feel safe,” said Clear Creek Elementary teacher Bridget Rhinhimer who has spoken out for the policy at past board meetings.

Students in MCCSC felt the same way, which is why they spoke out and led a group to take action against discrimination. South senior Adrianna Waterford said, “I’m so happy that I get to leave this behind when I graduate, and just know that school can be a safe thing. If someone has a concern, wants to report something, or is in a situation, this is their way to do that.”

The school board specifically wants the policy to accomplish six different tasks in our schools. These are “creating a racially safe and inclusive learning environment for every student, raising the academic achievement of all students, providing instruction centered on principle of equity, the elimination of predictability in student outcomes according to race, actively centering equity in the development of all newly created and revised policies, and providing opportunities that include diverse student perspectives” according to the official MCCSC policy. 

One of the biggest changes that the students called for since the policy was tabled in January, was that the policy should address racial discrimination not just from student to student, but also when racism is coming from teachers or administration. This anti-racism policy will allow for students to feel safer when they feel they are not being treated fairly by their teacher(s) and/or school administration. This will help even the playing field in schools, and allow everyone to have more of the same opportunities for success in school.

Rhinhimer said, “If [students] are in our school buildings, they are going to be supported and safe… the priority is children.”