Saugus District approves racial, educational equity resolution

The Saugus Union School District office. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The Saugus Union School District governing board approved a resolution that would recognize the district’s commitment to educational and workplace equity in regards to race.

The resolution comes two weeks after the board had discussed another resolution, which would have acknowledged the district’s formal support for the statement “Black lives matter” and the protesters involved in the “Black Lives Matter” political movement.

The Black Lives Matter resolution, which was discussed during a June 23 board meeting, was not opposed by board members, according to meeting minutes, but Board President Julie Olsen had asked for further revisions.

The board resolution approved at the next public meeting, held on Tuesday, did not mention the statement or proper noun “Black Lives Matter,” but did reaffirm the district’s commitment to racial equity for both district students and staff. It also acknowledged the educational achievement gap among students of color, and reestablished the district’s commitment to close that gap.

The new resolution also calls on the superintendent to consult with diversity experts and update the board regularly, providing recommendations for improvement “through a culturally responsive and restorative justice lens.”

SUSD Superintendent Colleen Hawkins said the resolution also included provisions, directed by the board, for her to continue community conversations not just with students and staff, but with community stakeholders about topics related to inclusion and the achievement gap.

Additionally, Hawkins was asked to consult with diversity experts and discuss topics of inclusion, racism, anti-racism and discrimination with district staff.

“Then we’ll begin planning surveys and all those sorts of things so that they don’t occur for our staff, parents, kids or anybody in our organization, in our environment,” said Hawkins. “We’re going to help make sure that when kids come to school, they feel good about where they are, who they are and how they learn, and everybody around them feels that way, as well.”

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