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Diversity Group Seeking Answers

It has been two months since the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Diversity, before a packed audience, asked the Hart district school board to take action on the committee’s recommendations to promote equality in the schools.

    The only thing committee member Steven Herskovitz has heard from the board since then has been an invitation this week to come to its Feb. 2 meeting to be thanked “for the many volunteer hours you have contributed as a member of the steering committee.”

    “Thanks,” Herskovitz replied in an e-mail to the district. “But more importantly, I hope the board might be able to give us all an idea what suggestions (it is) considering implementing and what the timeline will be. We all worked hard on this so some sort feedback would be greatly appreciated.”

    When the diversity committee delivered its recommendations to the Hart board on Nov. 16 after a long line of Christians, Jews and African-Americans took to the podium to endorse the findings of the diversity committee, the school board accepted the report but did not act on it.

    At the start of the November meeting, school board member Dennis King said his board would not act on it, but rather take it under advisement until a later date.

    Some in the audience took issue with him, asking that the board either accept the recommendations or at least state a time table so the public would know when to expect an answer.

    This week, King reiterated that the board will consider the recommendations, but he didn’t know when it would occur.

    “I don’t have a schedule for that. The agenda is set by the superintendent and the (board) president,” King said.

    But board president Paul Strickland was unclear as to whether or not the ad hoc committee’s recommendations would actually be voted upon at an upcoming meeting.

    Instead, a progress report to be delivered by Hart district diversity coordinator Greg Lee will take place at the board’s April 4 meeting, Strickland said.

    Lee will talk about what he has already been doing in the schools to promote equality and cultural sensitivity, Strickland said. Many of the recommendations made by the diversity committee are already being worked on by Lee, Strickland added.

    They are: Naming diversity counselors at each school site; ensuring that all district policies reflect inclusive language; training staff beginning in May; and creating forms for students and staff to report incidents of cultural insensitivity.

For the whole story, visit The Signal's website.