The Burlington School District released its Equity and Inclusion Data Report. It reveals just where it needs to do better as a school community.
The data shows African American students are suspended at a higher rate. The Director of Equity for BSD Henri Sparks said they still have a lot of work they need to do regarding racism.
“I think it has a lot to do with bias, unconscious bias,” Sparks said. “I think it has a lot to do with white supremacy culture, racism, and a lot of other contributing factors.”
The data tries to eliminate disparities between student academic achievement and participation based on race, and gender and socio-economic issues. African American students make up only 15% of the student population. Sparks said it was important to include student voices in the report.
“Sometimes I think I get mistreated because of the color of my skin,” BSD student said.
Also this statement was included in the report.
“I feel like we are getting there,” BSD said. “We are much better than some schools, but we are not great. We still have racism, sexism, and hate in our school.”
The data also showed students with IEPs are suspended at a higher rate.
“So we need to really drill down why we are suspending students with disabilities at such a high number,” Sparks said.
The district received a small grant to reduce racial and ethnic disparities and suspensions.
Superintendent Tom Flanagan said students of color do better when they have teachers of color in their experience as students.
“We also know that all students do better when they have teachers of color, so it’s really important for us to focus our efforts on recruitment,” Flanagan said.
BSD is ranked as the most diverse district in the state. Only 7% of their teachers identify as being BIPOC. Flanagan said there is still much work to do.
“Personally as a parent I value being in a multicultural community, and having my students and kids in the community,” Flanagan said.