In response to a systemic equity assessment that LCPS commissioned in the spring of 2019, which confirmed the racial insults and slurs that students experience, Superintendent Eric Williams released a statement yesterday to clearly outline the LCPS stance on creating an inclusive, safe, caring, and challenging learning environment viewed through an equity lens.
In February, Williams announced a plan to conduct the assessment in Loudoun County Public Schools. This spring, the Equity Collaborative, an organization with expertise in equity in education, conducted a series of qualitative interviews and focus groups across 24 schools in the division. The interviews and focus groups that were conducted included students, parents, community members, teachers and school leaders.
The report found that staff members “indicate a low level of racial consciousness and racial literacy. People are unclear and fearful on how to participate in conversations about race, let alone respond to racially charged incidents.”
The report also revealed that in internal discipline policies and practices disproportionately negatively impact students of color and that many English Learners, Black/African-American, Latinx, and Muslim students have experienced “racial insults/slurs or racially motivated violent actions.”
The report recommenced four actions, the first of which was to produce and publish on the “Superintendent’s Message” page a new division-authored statement defining and condemning White supremacy, hate speech, hate crimes, and other racially motivated acts of violence.
The Superintendent’s message is as follows:
“LCPS is committed to providing a safe, empathetic, respectful and supportive learning environment in order to empower every student to make meaningful contributions to the world. When students and staff experience racial insults, slurs, and/or other hate speech, we lack the positive culture and climate that supports students’ growth.
“LCPS calls for all students, staff, families, and other members of our community to engage in the disruption and dismantling of white supremacy, systemic racism, and hateful language and actions based on race, religion, country of origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, and/or ability. LCPS rejects racist and other hateful behavior and language, recognizing that it encourages discrimination, hatred, oppression, and violence.
“Every individual is valued in Loudoun County Public Schools. Let’s celebrate the diversity that helps define us as a school division.
According to their fact sheet, Loudon County Public Schools are comprised of 92 schools with 11,577 employees serving 82,485 students. The student body is 48% white, 22% Asian, 17% Hispanic, 7% African American, and 6% multiracial.