FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- The Southwest Allen County Schools (SACS) school board met Tuesday to vote on whether or not to move forward with the organization FAIR for All. FAIR for All aims to advance civil rights and promote a common culture based on fairness, understanding, and humanity.
Board members have been deciding for months on the best way to alleviate racial tensions and unify the district. As a result, the board voted unanimously to partner with FAIR for All.
Two types of sessions were approved. The first is a listening session that would set out to understand the community perspective and identify the needs of SACS students, families, and staff.
The second session, for professional development, is set out to introduce staff to the FAIR approach to diversity and discuss strategies for building unity within the schools.
The sessions will be catered to adults with the hope of having at least two listening sessions to include high school and middle school students. This decision puts an end to nearly three months of deliberations.
It all started in February when a student at Homestead High School was pictured wearing blackface, sparking outrage within the minority population at the high school and school district. Since then, members of the community and district have been researching ways to address the issue.
In May, the school district introduced a possible partnership with Rise to Win. It’s a nonprofit that helps eliminate racial discrimination in sports communities.
SACS Superintendent Park Ginder said the plan would have been for Rise to Win to come in and host community forums. However, the school board felt the organization did not fit with the plan the district had in mind.
FAIR for All would have taken the report from that and created a plan moving forward for the district on addressing things that came up. Last meeting, members looked at the proposed budget for FAIR for All to cover both aspects.
Pricing for the listening session starts at ten thousand and seven thousand for the professional development session. SACS Superintendent Park Ginder said those prices are likely to go up as the district determines how many sessions will be needed. Ginder said moving forward, SACS could start the listening sessions as early as October.