May 5, 2021
Dear SAU 70 School Community,
I’m writing tonight to correct some misinformation that was broadcast during NHPR’s show, “The Exchange” this morning. Today’s show was a panel discussion about critical race theory and NH’s HB 544, a legislative initiative to restrict the discussion of “divisive concepts” such as racism and sexism. In support of the legislation, one of the show’s callers claimed in essence, that in Hanover, elementary school children are being taught that they are oppressors, are complicit in white supremacy, and otherwise being made to feel guilty about their responsibility for racism. This is simply not true.
Our staff, and more recently, our community, have been participating in diversity, equity, and inclusion training, and for the past year, our entire nation has been involved in reflection, conversation, and debate about racial injustice in America. The primary focus of our work so far has been to raise our awareness as a staff in order to ensure that no student or staff member is marginalized or discriminated against.
At Monday’s SAU 70 Board meeting, the school board voted to create an Equity Committee, to incorporate and build upon the work of our broad-based SAU 70 Equity Committee. Among other purposes, this new committee will develop an equity statement and review curriculum, student support services, and hiring practices from an equity perspective. This committee will meet in accordance with Open Meeting Law and conduct its work with transparency and public input.
Additionally, public conversations about equity will certainly be part of the Board’s upcoming strategic planning process, which will include discussions about our school system’s future educational, operational, financial, and governance direction. Respectful dialogue and debate will be essential for us to promulgate a strong plan, and such productive public discourse will require honesty and accuracy.
I look forward to working with our Board, staff, students, families and community as we engage in this important planning.