Gill-Montague to talk, hold forums on racial issues

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Article Author: Melina Bourdeau
Publication Name: Greenfield Recorder
Article Date: 1/25/2019
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TURNERS FALLS — Besides the plan to hold upcoming forums, Superintendent Michael Sullivan said Gill-Montague district schools are addressing civil rights harassment violations by implementing several improvements, including teaching divserity and inclusion, same-day communication with parents or guardians and using restorative practices to rebuild community.

Administrative staff provided an update regarding its response to civil rights violations during a recent School Committee meeting, where Sullivan presented a memo he wrote, as well as the secondary school, to the board announcing forums, providing information for people who wish to submit a complaint and identifying areas where the secondary school needs improvements. This has come about as part of the administration’s response to recent complaints about racial incidents.

Sullivan said in a broader context, addressing the civil rights violations at the secondary school is another complex issue.

“Examining the causes of this situation has lead to an awareness of an unhealthy school climate at the secondary level. It’s like an onion, there’s layers to this work, and the more we peel away, the more we see there’s a lot to be done,” Sullivan said. “It’s serious work. It includes responding to incidents of civil rights harassment, consistent use of an agreed-upon approach to responding to disciplinary offenses …, teaching for diversity, equity and social justice — I’ve been talking to lots of different providers about who might help us build on work we’ve already been doing.”

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