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Detroit school board adopts anti-racism declaration, promising action and cultural changes

The Detroit school board adopted an anti-racism resolution during Tuesday’s school board meeting, promising a series of commitments that will work toward eliminating racism and oppression across its roughly 100 schools.

In the resolution, the school board said racism has plagued communities of color for too long, leading to economic, health care and educational disparities.

“We can no longer bear the burden of behavior, systems or institutions that allow for knees on necks for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. As an anti-racist institution, we decry such activity and will take action that respects the humanity of every student,” the resolution read.

The resolution was adopted with a unanimous vote of the seven-member board.

The resolution comes after the district faced increased scrutiny over the funding of its police force, and as the protesters around the world demanded the country act to end racism. Those protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis who was killed by a white police officer when he kneeled on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.

These are the highlights of the district’s anti-racism declaration:

  • Eradication of racism and bigotry across the district.

  • Transformation of the district’s culture to dignify the voices of students, families, and staff.

  • Implementation of anti-racist training that asks employees to be reflective of their implicit biases.

  • Swift disciplinary action toward employees exhibiting racist behavior toward students, families, and other staff members.

  • Continued engagement with the school and business communities to develop inclusive action plans to address racism.

  • Re-examination of policies and curriculum to better support the diverse learning needs of students through an equity strategic framework.

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