District adopts plan to improve diversity

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – An action plan expected to serve as a diversity road map for the William S. Hart Union High School District has been adopted by the school board. The plan calls for hiring more teachers and other employees from ethnic and racial minorities, continuing diversity training for staffers and board members, and changes to the curriculum to educate students about other cultures. The diversity action plan was unanimously accepted by the board Wednesday. “It’s been an uphill battle, and I think it’s a great step,” said board member Gloria Mercado-Fortine. “Other districts are ahead of us with this. We’re behind the times here. That’s why it was such a monumental step.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventThe search for a diversity plan began last year after a lawsuit was filed against the district, its school board and Valencia High School with allegations of civil-rights violations against African-American students. The lawsuit remains unsettled. The diversity plan says the district will make a stronger effort to contract, recruit and hire people from racial and ethnic minorities, but does not set a minimum percentage or quota for hiring. The plan says changes in curriculum and teaching strategies should be developed that “stimulate the cultural proficiency of students” and address the learning achievement gap for minority and lower income students. Diversity Coordinator Greg Lee said it’s economic status, not racism, that is the most prevalent dividing line among students on Hart campuses. “There’s a developing `have and have-not’ distinction in our community and that translates to our schools,” he said. “They say, `This is the rich school. This is the not-rich area.”‘ Board member Steve Sturgeon also finds a have and have-not attitude in the community when it comes to the amount of time parents spend with their children, which contributes to academic success and disciplinary issues. “I believe there are many households where both parents are working parents and their jobs are encompassing their lives and by the time they get home it’s late,” he said. At the junior high level, Lee found that the most significant diversity issues are related to body image – who is fat, skinny, has red hair or is the coolest. He said it’s a distinction students make quickly in deciding who is in or not. But Mercado-Fortine says an intolerance toward differences, such as races, and bullying are at the forefront of the diversity issues that are facing the district. “The bullying on campuses is of great concern to me, and that has to be addressed,” she said. “That’s where again race and intolerance of differences is a big issue.” [email protected] (661)257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img