TO OUR NORTHERN MICHIGAN COMMUNITY AND THE TCAPS SCHOOL BOARD AND ADMINISTRATION:
Last week, students in our TCAPS schools were subjected to a humiliating and racist social media campaign targeting BIPOC students via a “Slave Trade” Snapchat group. Through a media release, TCAPS administration’s response stated:
“We are disheartened to hear this behavior and activity has occurred in our community, particularly at a moment when our nation continues to grapple with issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Our schools and school communities are committed to working tirelessly to provide safe learning environments for all students by prohibiting harassment due to an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, or disability.”
TCAPS superintendent declined to name the student’s actions for what it clearly was, a blatantly racist, dehumanizing and traumatizing act against our BIPOC students. Our BIPOC children and families deserve a much stronger and more comprehensive response from TCAPS leadership.
Here is what we are asking for immediately from TCAPS administration and school board:
TCAPS administration must publicly acknowledge what occurred as a racist act.
There must be accountability and zero tolerance with the students who perpetuated this action against BIPOC students, including anti-racism counseling and training for offending children and their parents/guardians.
TCAPS needs to immediately supply trauma-informed support and resources for families and students impacted by this incident with contact info widely published and give families the option of having a BIPOC counselor.
TCAPS must pursue immediate community involvement, including Northern MI E3, with the TCAPS Social Equity Task Force
To review current curriculum and create/provide anti-racist and culturally responsive curriculum and lessons;
Rewrite their policies to provide zero tolerance for any actions that create an environment of perceived danger or hostility for any student;
Provide peacemaking/mediation for the student offenders and their parents, student victims and their parents, and the community;
Review cases of bullying/harassment based on race, gender, religion, culture, sexuality, ability, etc. on a case-by-case basis and make recommendations;
To our fellow TCAPS parents and the entire community, we will not end racism in our schools or our community until we ALL make this a top and ongoing priority, in our homes, in our classrooms, in our places of worship, and everywhere we gather as neighbors. We need you to make an ongoing commitment to addressing and ending racism and to teaching all children in our region how to be anti-acist.
In the immediate, we are asking you to:
Sign onto this open letter here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MVN1n9MTKyweCdG4_rgNOmMg2a0-GVD1-aAN7Vnxa74/edit?usp=sharing
Speak at public comment at the school board meeting this Monday, April 26 at 6 p.m.
Send e-mails to school board members to (see https://www.tcaps.net/board ) prior to the school board meeting Monday evening.