Onteora is joining other area school districts in adopting an anti-racism resolution to help foster a safer environment for students and staff. The resolution comes after protests throughout the nation calling for racial equality.
“We acknowledge that we must review our own school policies, goals, missions and practices through an anti-racist and equity lens to address issues of racism, bigotry and hate that still exist within our own school community,” states a passage of the draft resolution read aloud by school board president Laurie Osmond at the September 1 meeting. “This shall be accomplished by better supporting the diverse learning needs of students through re-examination of policies, procedures, personal conduct and curriculum and by promoting recruitment of a more diverse core of administrators, teachers and staff.”
The resolution calls for “continued education, monitoring, counseling and mediation of students exhibiting or participating in racist behavior.” It warns of “disciplinary actions for employees who do not follow training guidelines or who exhibit racist behavior toward students, families and other staff members.”
Osmond thanked trustee Dafne DeJesus for researching anti-racism resolutions adopted by other school districts and coming up with the bulk of the language.
She asked student representative Leon Savage to provide the board with student feedback on the language.
“I just wanted to compliment everyone who worked on this,” trustee Bennet Ratcliff said.
The board may suggest changes and vote on the resolution at its next meeting.
There is a free lunch
McLaren told the board all students in grades K-6 are now eligible for free lunch. “Our percentage of families eligible for free and reduced meals has been increasing for years, and is now at the point that we can access the CEP program as a district at the elementary level,” she explained. The Community Eligibility Provision of the national school lunch program allows districts to provide free breakfast and lunch without parents having to file applications. Schools that qualify for CEP are reimbursed based on the percentage of students eligible for free meals because of need.
Eligibility for free lunch will also give families access to discounted Internet service from Spectrum, which will help in time for the new school year. Service up to 30mbps is available at a discounted rate for low-income households and those who have children eligible for free and reduced lunches or are included in the CEP.
Onteora school lunch manager Christine Downs will be sending letters confirming eligibility that can be used to obtain the discounted Internet service. The program does not apply to current Spectrum Internet subscribers. More information is available at https://www.spectrum.net/support/spectrum-internet-assist.