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A step toward better education – The Recorder

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A step toward better education

Every child deserves an excellent education, with teachers and school administrators who appreciate and care about them. Right?

But, according to families in the Gill-Montague school system, racist bullying in their schools has been ignored for years. According to recent news coverage, the superintendent says that while they have a policy intended to address this kind of thing, it isn’t always followed. (I can’t figure out if that is better or worse than no policy at all.)

Gill-Montague is not the only local school district where this kind of behavior is an issue. Solutions to the racism in our schools will have to be systemic and complex, but here is one step that could make a big difference. Many schools in our region are staffed exclusively, or almost exclusively, by white teachers and administrators. This does a disservice to all students.

All school districts, whatever their demographics, should make it a priority to employ a significant number of teachers and administrators who are black, Latino, indigenous. Children who are not white need to have role models in the schools who they can identify with, and children who are white need to work with and respect mentors and authority figures from other ethnic groups than their own.

This will also benefit our white teachers and administrators, who will have the opportunity to experience respectful collegial relationships with people from other backgrounds than their own.

Sharin Alpert

Shelburne Falls