School Board Seeks to Establish Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter

The Cape Elizabeth School Board conducted a special workshop on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at the request of Chair Heather Altenburg.  Wishing to follow up on the School Board’s June 23 Workshop in which racial inequality was addressed, Altenburg acknowledged that priorities were forced to shift over the summer to returning students to school, “In June, we spent hours listening to the public about racism, anti-racism, what’s happening in the country, what’s happening in our district, and we heard a lot of personal antidotes on racism, but then we had to focus on the pandemic and how to safely return students to our schools.”

With the November 3 workshop, the School Board returned to holding a public conversation about racial inequality and ultimately crafting a School Board statement which addresses an acute and specific time within the country.  Altenburg offered that  “although this comes later than we would have liked” the desire to expressly support the Black Lives Matter movement with a statement from the School Board remains essential.  Altenburg went on to say that the statement is not stemming from political motives, but rather from “a humanitarian” endeavor.

Together, School Board members utilized the remainder of the workshop to craft and refine a statement in support of Black Lives Matter.  The following is the draft statement developed by board members.

“The Cape School Board acknowledges that racism exists. We have observed injustice around our country, we have heard from community members and students, we have heard their pain, and we are responding to what we have heard and witnessed and what we are learning.

We are dedicated to ensuring that all members of our educational community are treated with dignity and equity.  As part of that commitment, we unequivocally affirm that Black Lives Matter and believe that racial discrimination and injustice is intolerable in any form.

While we already have policies regarding anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, and anti-bullying, we aspire to go beyond policy.  We support the work the teachers and administrators have already begun.  The School Board will support efforts to broaden professional development, champion the work of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force, and ultimately improve the culture and climate of our school community.  This is our ongoing commitment.”

The draft will be moved to the November 10 School Board Meeting board approval.

More: Latest News