June 16, 2020
Dear HUUSD Community, Students, Staff and Board,
I am pleased to announce the formation of the HUUSD Task Force for Anti-Racism (TFAR). Our Task Force will be Co Chaired by Principal Tom Drake and Assistant Principal Sarah Schoolcraft. Tom and Sarah have begun to identify the standing members expected to be between 12-16 students, staff, and community. The work will begin over the summer.
HUUSD Task Force for Anti-Racism (TFAR) Scope of Work: TFAR is an advisory group committed to recognizing, addressing and eradicating all forms of racism and ethnic oppression in the HUUSD. We will focus on engaging and collaborating in educating and developing habits of mind that challenge oppressive and unjust forces. We will work hard to reduce racial injustices, both within the HUUSD and in our broader communities. TFAR will work towards motivating our faculty, staff and administrators to be united in the pursuit to end racial and ethnic bias, and to empower our students and parents towards this collective goal.
We acknowledge that regardless of one’s own race or ethnicity, individuals are at various points along an anti-racist journey. We also understand that bias can be unconscious or unintentional and that racism is the combination of social and institutional power plus racial prejudice. Identifying these two specific forms of oppression and disparate outcomes do not automatically mean that those involved intended negative impact, and having these conversations requires courage, respect and compassion, and may not always be comfortable. However, as an anti-racist and ethnically unbiased community, we will purposefully strive to identify, discuss and challenge issues of race, color, ethnicity and the impact(s) they have on our students, faculty, and staff members.
Science and research has proven time and time again that: Children have learned racial bias in facial recognition by 3 months of age. Black children as young as 3 years old have been shown to have significantly lower self-esteem based on their own identification of their skin color (Clark, B. and Clark, M., 1940’s.“The Doll Test”), which has also been linked to lower academic achievement. Black students are significantly
more likely to receive discipline resulting in removal from the classroom (suspensions, expulsions,referrals to law enforcement and more) than their peers, which has been directly linked to incarceration rates. Accountability is one of the only known factors that lead to behavioral changes in people who occupy positions of power.
As PK-12 educators, we are trusted leaders, mentors and role models to countless students, who will grow up to be the next generation of Americans. We are expected to teach and lead by example, exhibit kindness, provide resources, and be a safe space for students. From here on, anything less will be considered failing to do our jobs. Talks about race can be challenging but we must turn the silence into dialogue. These conversations are not reserved only for students of color but for students in predominantly white schools too.
WE STAND COMMITTED...
We look forward to sharing our work with you as we progress. Please stay tuned.
Superintendent of Schools