Dear Editor: MMSD claims to know that “the ‘zero tolerance’ approach that relies on punishment does not work — in fact, it hurts students” and that their approach is rooted in teaching and learning. However, in an effort for racial justice, the district maintains zero tolerance for racial slurs. This policy led to the firing of Marlon Anderson just weeks ago when he repeated a racial slur that a student called him.
MMSD also boasts their commitment to restorative justice, claiming they want “radically transformed school communities where students, staff, parents, and caregivers are safe, feel they belong, and are actively engaged” and where “each member of the school community is deeply valued and provided with what they need to ... learn and grow.” Again, where were these commitments to Mr. Anderson?
As educators, administrators and policymakers, we cannot just talk the talk when it comes to social justice. We need to do some serious work to do the walking. We cannot claim to have a commitment to justice and then fire an employee on the unfair basis of a zero-tolerance policy without context. We cannot create these policies through a lens of colorblindness. It’s time MMSD talks about race and actually walks the walk.
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