Equity Work Update ~ July 26
Dear LCHS Parents and Guardians,
The purpose of this communication is two fold. First, we would like to share more information with you regarding the student walk-out that occurred in March. Second, we would like to update you on the investigation surrounding this incident.
We received feedback from families indicating that they would like more information about the walkout that occurred in March. We want to make sure you have access to all prior communications in one location. Below are links to all of the communications sent out regarding the student walkout which includes the March 14th communication with an outline of walkout events.
|Date of Walk-Out: March 10, 2022|
Original Walkout Communication (March 10, 2022)
School Closure and Feedback Communication (March 11, 2022)
Walkout Timeline and Next Steps Communication (March 14, 2022)
Return to School Communication (March 15, 2022)
Equity Work Update (June 15, 2022)
We would also like to update you on the student walkout investigation that took place in June. Members from The Equity Project, Colorado Springs spent the day speaking with staff, students, and a few parents/guardians. The sole focus of this portion of their work with LCSD was to determine whether or not racial discrimination influenced the disciplinary actions of staff leading up to the student walkout. Due to privacy laws, we cannot share names of students involved in this incident.
Below you will find the complete report of The Equity Project’s initial investigation including the finding that the group does not believe that racial discrimination influenced the disciplinary actions of staff leading up to the student walkout.
Lake County School District
Goal: Was there any racial inequality in this situation?
Equity Project staff interviewed staff members, administrators, parents, and community members at the request of the district office. We recorded all the information about the incident at school, then we reviewed all of the scripts and identified what actually happened. Prior to this work, the Equity Project did not know anyone involved in the incident at the school and had never supported the school district in any way.
A fight occurred between student 1 and student 2.
Student 1 left the scene. Student 3 and student 4 were observers and were removed quickly from the scene of the conflict. Student 2 went to the office.
The staff were not sure where Student 1 went. Staff figured out what class was next for student 1. A staff member went and brought [Student 1] to the wrestling room adjacent to the gym.
Admin spoke with Student 2 in the office.
The actual fight between Student 1 and Student 2 did not get physical because a teacher intervened. When things don’t get physical, the administration said they do not suspend students. They want students to be at school. They also wanted to prevent anything from continuing to escalate. Staff did not want students 1 or 2 in class yet or in the hallways where they could possibly see each other and start another argument.
The staff uses Restorative Justice when there is an issue, and only when students are ready. Student 1 was not ready for Restorative Justice and was clear it was not going to happen. Student 2 said, “Yes I am ready to sit and talk to Student 1.”
Administrators called both sets of parents. After talking with Student 2’s parents, staff sent Student 2 back to class until Student 1 would be ready to have a Restorative Justice circle. Student 2 was not supposed to talk about the incident until the staff and students completed a Restorative Justice circle.
Student 1 was emotional and did at one point say [Student 1] was ready, but the interim Assistant Principal and a staff member did not feel like Student 1 was ready to engage in a productive conversation.
Staff talked with Student 1’s parents and said they would keep [Student 1] out of class until [Student 1] was calm and ready for RJ. Parent said they would come pick up Student 1 because [Student 1] was not in a good headspace, and [Parent] did not want Student 1 in class while [Student 1] was in that mental and emotional state. The leadership of the school did not suspend [Student 1]. They wanted [Student 1] to be at school, but [Student 1] was not ready to talk.
Also, [Student 1] felt mistreated and disrespected by three staff members from the get-go. When a staff member called [Student 1] out of the gym, the staff member had a tone. The staff member felt like Student 1 was ignoring her and [the staff member] took on a firmer tone after being ignored. What bothered Student 1 the most was that [Student 1] had to wait to get lunch until someone could go with [Student 1]. [Student 1] also had to wait to go to the bathroom until there were no students in the hallways. The staff felt it was a safety issue. They did not want Student 1 to be bombarded by other students asking questions.
Information shared among friends was that Student 1 was suspended and Student 2 was not, which was untrue. Student 2 was first taken to the office. Students thought Student 2 was white, but student 2 is Hispanic.
Students 3 and 4 did not have the correct information about the situation. Student 3 posted on social media– “There’s going to be a walk-out for anti-racism and equality.” The incident related to this was the last straw for Student 3. Two students fought, both were equally responsible, Student 2 (white student) had no consequences and Student 1 (Hispanic student) was suspended. This was the narrative on social media (though it was not true).
What was posted was a walk-out for anti-racism and against inequality. There was no racial inequality on the part of the staff during this incident.
Through multiple interviews, no staff, administrators, or community members indicated that this specific incident involved racial discrimination.
Based on evidence collected, Equity Project staff does not believe that racial discrimination contributed to the mismanagement of the situation.
Please keep in mind that this is only the very beginning of our work with The Equity Project and Western Educational Equity Assistance Center. Now that The Equity Project has become familiar with our district, we will continue working on addressing the other three objectives shared in our last communication. We have spoken with our team at The Equity Project and have identified these next steps.
- Establishing an Equity Stakeholder Team to provide stakeholder input to this process. The Equity Stakeholder Team will gather feedback and input from all families related to their experiences and thoughts around equity in our schools. This team will begin meeting in August to create action steps and recommendations based on the feedback. If you are interested in serving on this team, please email email@example.com
- Create a professional development plan for staff to improve student and staff experiences/relationships.
- Examine current discipline structures alongside The Equity Project and begin modifying areas that need improvement. Once a formal draft has been completed, the Equity Stakeholder Team will provide feedback and work with The Equity Project and the administration to make any final adjustments.
Please keep in mind, you can share any and all equity related concerns or information with us by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org These emails will be openly shared with the team at The Equity Project.
We will continue to update you as this work evolves. Thank you for your input and collaboration. Your support truly makes LCSD a better place!
Lake County School District