“We initially started as a way to create a safe space for black educators, whether it’s teachers, staff, anyone who has contact with children,” said Rachelle Stone, a fourth-grade teacher at Huegel Elementary School. “We first pushed the district to make sure the curriculum was culturally relevant. It wasn’t until this year that we focused on combating these incidents and white supremacy.”
Stone said the demands were aimed at teachers the group feels are unqualified to teach in the district.
“Our goal is to get at the root of the problem and really recognizing that there are some teachers who should not be in classrooms, that having them in our district is harming our black students when they use racial slurs and derogatory language,” Stone said.
Stone said she’s hopeful the district will hold itself accountable in light of these incidents.
“Teachers and anyone who is interacting with kids has to have an anti-racist mindset in order to dismantle white supremacy,” Stone said. “It’s not enough to say we’re are culturally competent because we did a read-along or have some posters. The district has a lot of work to do around that, whether it’s really changing the recruitment processes, how we deal with situations where a person is not working with black students, etc. The district has a lot to think about how it serves its black students.”
“The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”