School Board, district respond to calls for anti-racist action

Published on Jul 06, 2020

District and school leaders are meeting with members of the Bloomington Antiracist Coalition (BARC) to listen and work toward the elimination of all forms of racial injustice.

BARC is a group of former and current students calling for a more inclusive curriculum and textbooks by Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) authors. Additional requests include providing culturally competent resources for students of color, removing school resource officers from the high schools, and renaming Jefferson High School.

“We seek to better understand our students’ experiences, both past and present, to ensure our teaching and learning programs are culturally inclusive and our schools reflect diversity,” said Superintendent Les Fujitake. “I’m very proud of the participants’ courage to share their experiences. It’s very sobering.”

The meetings follow the School Board’s recent approval of a resolution endorsing a Safe and Supportive Schools plan to address racial inequities and foster school environments that promote respect for and curiosity about all cultures.

“We understand this is a challenging time for many of our former and current students of color,” said Board Chair Nelly Korman. “We want to create space for all who are impacted by listening and encouraging them to share their stories, their fears, their anger and sadness,” 

Korman, a native of Colombia, South America, is also a Spanish teacher at St. Louis Park High School. She said the Board is working to be part of the solution in racial reckoning and healing in our community, but “change will not occur overnight.” 

“We ask for patience and grace as we lay out a timeline to prioritize changes to our policies, curriculum, and efforts to foster inclusive practices,” Korman added.