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walked into a dark & empty lane auditorium at the county office building before realizing the county school board meeting is NOT in the usual spot tonight... driving to albemarle high school now. i am late & out of practice 🤦‍♀️
i should’ve known right away i was in the wrong building when i didn’t see a thousand police cars in the parking lot
i would love to know what the impetus behind the venue change tonight was. the high school media center is a much smaller location with fewer seats... they’re presenting the draft of their antiracism policy now.
i don’t know if it just isn’t working on mobile or if the document isn’t actually linked, but i can’t get the policy to open

well i’m glad it wasn’t just me — the woman presenting this portion of the agenda went to the wrong building, too 😂
the speaker acknowledges that no antiracism policy can eliminate racism. what @hatefreeacps & others want to know, though, is why the policy doesn’t include any ban on racist imagery?
there are issues of communication - some teachers have said they weren’t aware this discussion was even happening, that a policy was being drafted.
the mic is now handed over to four of the students who worked on the policy. the first student says she’s learned a lot throughout this process about how local government works & how policies are enacted (girl after my own heart!)
this 4th student is going to run for office one day. zero doubt of that.
@hatefreeacps is streaming the meeting here if you want to watch!

the students suggest mandatory training on race and racism for all teachers & staff (hard to believe that isn’t already universal!)
“you might be blind to something you’re not aware of,” says one of the students.
i’m so impressed by this generation of young activists. (oh no those are the magic words - i’m old now)
to combat the racial bias in who gets tracked into which classes, they suggest teachers provide written explanations for class recommendations & that guidance counselors receive mandatory training
they’re proposing alternative discipline processes to reduce discipline biases. they considered including restorative justice processes in the policy, but it seems that was a bit beyond their scope.
they’re also suggesting that all curriculum be examined for racial bias (by whom, though? what would this look like? what happens when it’s found? because we know it’s there.)
one of the things the students suggested was making the antiracism policy available in several languages. apparently no albemarle county school policies are currently available in any language other than english.
a school board member asked the students this question!
one student says there would ideally be someone overseeing enforcement of this policy & this would involve oversight of textbook selecticNAb
someone at the table (goddamnit i hate when there’s no name plates at a meeting, i’m so face blind) says it’s not typical for a policy to require a position be hired for to fulfill the policy.
oh there are nameplates but they’re all facing toward the center of the table they’re sitting at, so no one can read them 🙄
one of the students is recounting a positive classroom experience she had with a teacher who was careful to address the eurocentric racial bias of their world history textbook. recognizing the bias of materials in use is an important first step.
one great thing about doing this kind of work as a weird hobby & labor of love for my community rather than for any kind of actual news outlet is that i can say things like: i fucking hate when kate acuff opens her mouth. i can’t wait for her to get voted off this board.
“it’s easy for us to pretend actions weren’t racist if we don’t say they were,” says one of the students, talking about the importance of talking about the reality of actions taken by historical figures. she recounts childhood confusion caused by the lost cause myth.
one student says she feels many students whose parents can’t advocate for them as well due to language barriers end up tracked into lower level classes. buyaki asks how families can be empowered the change that. but isn’t it on teachers & counselors not to shortchange these kids?
the adult (teacher? staff member?) helping the students with this process says when she was in HS here she had the opportunity to take all honors classes... but opted not to because she didn’t want to be the only student of color in her classes.
fyi the man i couldn’t identify earlier because all men look the same to me is the superintendent dr matt haas 🤦‍♀️
this is what i get for missing a few weeks of meetings. these muscles atrophy so quickly.
sometimes a public meeting is literally just watching a very boring business meeting take place in public. the board members are taking turns listing things they like about the proposed policy.
alcaro is worried the antiracism policy isn’t written “for all students” and specifically calls out a section that references african americans... please tell me he’s not trying to inject concern over “reverse racism” into this discussion?
good question from another board member about inclusion of classism. that’s important!
acuff says the policy addresses racially motivated acts committed by students, but how would they address such acts from bus drivers, staff, or teachers?
callsen & acuff both think quarterly reporting of data on race-based incidents is too frequent.
oberg says he thinks it IS appropriate to hire a staff person to oversee implementation of this policy & that the position should be directly answerable to the school board & outside the chain of command of the superintendent.
acuff appears to be advocating better “branding” of the initiative. forget antiracist curriculum, we just need posters about how we don’t like racism!
old white bureaucrats LOVE to talk about implicit bias training. i’ve not seen any evidence that the money sunk into these trainings is worth a damn.
public comment was scheduled to begin now, but has been pushed back at least half an hour as they continue the work session on the draft policy. hearing acuff sanctimoniously announce that this antiracist work was what is most important nearly gave me a stroke.
the i r o n y
there’s going to be some discussion now about the items they identified as most important during the previous exercise. first is the importance of ALL staff receiving culturally responsive teaching training.
anybody else feel gaslit as hell & extremely disrespected to be listening to the man who wore a confederate flag tie to a meeting about the harm done by confederate imagery talk now about the importance of custodians receiving antiracism training?
buyaki should be first on the list to receive some fucking culturally responsive training.
dr hairston explains that the model they currently have for culturally responsive teaching training is designed for educators. they would need some other model to train office staff, bus drivers, etc similarly
oberg: “frankly, most of us won’t be on the board eight years from now.”
buddy, if y’all don’t pull it together YESTERDAY, not one of you is gonna be on this board past the next election.
we didn’t get very far on the discussion of the issues they raised about the draft... but we’re moving into public comment now. alcaro warns us, as they always do, that any disruptive behavior will result in ejection from the meeting. no clapping or snapping, as usual.
first speaker voices support for the work of @hatefreeacps & a ban on confederate imagery in schools. they say the policy presented is a good start, but there’s more to be done. who was consulted or surveyed in the construction of this policy?
they call out the use of police to intimidate & discourage attendance at school board meetings & the inaccessible nature of public comment (it’s after 9pm on a school night!!)
next up is lara from @hatefreeacps. speakers are supposed to say their magisterial district... she says she’s in the monacan & saponi district ✊
she reminds them of the meeting they canceled, ten minutes after starting, because people snapped in support of her public comment.

“not only is the board not anti racist, the board is actively racist.”
“we are asking you to remove symbols of rape, torture, and slavery from our children’s view”
she’s calling out the incredible white fragility of refusing to hear the public calling them out.
“the vibe that i got today was kind of self congratulatory,” says ben. there was no humility from the board tonight, despite the fact that they JUST GOT HERE re: acknowledging the importance of antiracism.
he also raises the issue of the board’s prohibition on speakers addressing or even naming individual board members. how is this allowed?!
he raises the issue of buyaki’s confederate flag tie & is immediately called out of order and ordered to leave the podium or be ejected from the building.
another speaker from @hatefreeacps at the podium now. “many of you probably view me as some troublesome parent who keeps bothering you.”
her children no longer attend albemarle county public schools because they don’t feel safe there. her son’s last day as an albemarle student was the day a cop laid hands on his mother at a school board meeting.
another extremely successful albemarle county school board meeting. and by that i mean we don’t have to go wait for our friends to get out of jail. it’s a low bar.
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