It’s sponsored by the Frederick County Teachers Association.
Frederick, Md (KM) An event planned for the first week of February is generating some controversy. The Frederick County Teachers Association, along with Black Lives Matter at School, are organizing a series of events on such topics as recruiting and retaining Black educators, Black Family Villages and Diversity, and empowering Black women.
Black Lives Matter at School is a national coalition of educators, parents, students and community activists who support four tenants: End Zero Tolerance; Mandate Black History and Ethnic Studies; Hire More Black Teachers; and Fund Counselors, Not Cops.
it was the last tenant that generating discussion. “It’s about having more mental health professionals in our schools, more social workers and more school counselors and more therapists to really meet the social and emotional needs of students,” says Missy Dirks, President of the FCTA.
But she says this tenant does not mean doing way with school resources officers, which are required to be in schools under state law. “This is not about the school resource officers. From our perspective, it is about more counselors, more mental health support,” she says.
Another tenant of the Black Lives Matter at School is ending zero tolerance. “Zero tolerance is school are when students can be expelled for very minor infractions, rather than having disciplinary practices that fit the emotional and social age of the student,” says Dirks.
She says school systems should try to understand why the students did what they did, and then take disciplinary action. But suspension and expulsion should be used as a last resort.
The week long event from February 1st through the 5th will be virtual due to the pandemic. Students, teachers, and the general public can participate free of charge. But they need to register on line at (HTTP://IBIT.LY/39VW501)
These tenants may seem controversial to some citizens, but Dirks says the School System has been working to promote them for years. “We have been working with the School System, and the School System now has a restorative practices supervisor in the central office,” she says. “So these are things that we’ve been working on for years. We’re just highlighting them in a different way with this week of action,”
By Kevin McManus