Anderson, who posted about the incident on social media and became a face for the push against the “zero tolerance” practice the district had instituted, had been called a “b**** a** n****” by a student and told the student not to call him the n-word, using the word itself in the process. Another staff member, who had been disciplined the previous school year, went public soon after with her own story.
“I’d say 2019 was a very challenging year for educators and people in the schools,” Keillor said. “It’s always been challenging work, but in 2019 we had some particular challenges that our folks have faced.”
Keillor said one of those challenges was the staff discipline came at the same time the district continues its shift away from “zero tolerance” practices with student discipline, adding that there is more work to be done in getting teachers ready to implement the Behavior Education Plans that went into effect in 2013.
“Last year was very challenging with this contradiction between restorative work for students and highly punitive, zero tolerance for staff,” Keillor said. “Our conversations since the Marlon Anderson (incident), our hope is the school district is moving past that.”
At the same time, MTI itself is offering an increasing number of development opportunities for its staff, especially devoted to racial equity. Holding monthly Saturday sessions along with helping to organize book groups at individual buildings has helped the work spread districtwide, Waity said.