October Diversity Newsletter
Celebrating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
This monthly newsletter will highlight a variety of topics that our students and staff are doing to celebrate and honor the diversity of our schools, the equitable practices we are striving for and the inclusive ideas that make us strong. Our intended audience is the greater community, as well as the students and staff in our schools.
Diversity Committee Update
At the last meeting of the Diversity and Equity Committee, themes were developed for use in a needs assessment survey. These themes will be integrated into a school and community wide survey later this fall to help guide the work of diversity and equity in the district.
- Enhance the role of the educational program to give context, support and tools for students to handle those that are different from them
- Increase allies and support systems across the district
- Build a strong communication system
- Align families with the most appropriate and most critical resources within the community
- Investigate Restorative Discipline policies for discrimination
- Celebrate the beliefs and values of our district in regards to diversity and equity
What is Bullying?
The definition below is used for bullying prevention and intervention programming in schools. This definition guides efforts to educate all constituents with common language around bullying.
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
- An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
- Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Conflict is not bullying
Conflict is "A disagreement or antagonism between two or more people. All parties involved have some responsibility in the encounter. It is not bullying when two or more kids with no perceived power imbalance fight, have an argument or disagree."
School Example- A student at lunch comes up and shoves another student. Neither students have had a previous issue with one another and this is the first time this behavior has happened.
Is this bullying? No, according to the state definition. However, our building teachers and administrators would still intervene and determine appropriate consequences for this behavior.
What if behavior does meet the definition? Is there an investigation?
Yes, the school would follow these procedures.
The school district will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of bullying or harassment upon receipt of a written complaint. The Equity Coordinators (hereinafter “Investigators”) will be responsible for handling all complaints alleging bullying or harassment or appoint a qualified person to undertake the investigation. The Investigators, along with the building principal, have the authority to initiate an investigation in the absence of a written complaint.
The investigation may include, but is not limited to the following:
- Interviews with the Complainant and the individual named in the complaint (“Respondent”);
- A request for the Complainant to provide a written statement regarding the nature of the complaint;
- A request for the Respondent to provide a written statement;
- Interviews with witnesses identified during the course of the investigation;
- A request for witnesses identified during the course of the investigation to provide a written statement; and
- Review and collection of documentation or information deemed relevant to the investigation.
High School Equity Ambassadors
Mental Health Awareness
Earlier this month, the Linn-Mar Student Services Department hosted a screening of the documentary “Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety”.
The 56-minute documentary looked at the differences between “being anxious” and having an anxiety disorder. It provided a starting point for examining questions such as, what can we do about the 634% rise in the use of Mental Health America’s online tool for anxiety since the start of Covid? Why is there still so much fear and stigma in just talking to others instead of hiding online? What can each of us do to make it better and best engage in a full and happy life?
If you are looking for any resources surrounding Mental Health, please visit this link.
Social Justice Resources for K-12 Teachers
Please see the following link for resources for K-12 Teachers. The mission of Social Justice Resources is to provide social justice resources for teachers to use in K-12 Iowa schools. The resources have been built through the collaboration with faculties and graduate students in the College of Education along with colleagues at the Public Policy Center.