Leadership Coalition to Combat Hate & Bias Speech

The Leadership Coalition to Combat Hate & Bias Speech was formed early in 2023.  The group is composed of approximately 30 students, families, community members, staff, and administrators who all have active roles in organizations committed to equity and inclusion and who represent the diversity of our District.   After spending a significant amount of time listening to students’ and adult members of our community’s experiences over the last several year, the Coalition developed the following statement that articulates the problem we identified:

There is an underlying culture that exists in Acton-Boxborough school community which allows hate and bias speech to be perpetuated that includes the following characteristics:

  • Individuals engage in a range of hate and bias speech or behaviors that serve to dehumanize members of our community who belong to marginalized groups.  These include:

    • Jokes and slurs that ridicule or reinforce stereotypes

    • Behaviors that target, demean or harass individual(s)

    • Public displays of hate

  • Hate and bias speech takes place in different settings, and is often influenced and amplified by the use of social media

  • Some individuals minimize, dismiss, or normalize the existence of hate and bias speech in our schools and community.

  • There are inconsistent and/or insufficient responses by educators and students to interrupt the hate and bias speech in the moment enough to modify behaviors and culture

The coalition identified several key goals and outcomes that our District has committed to during the 2023-24 School Year:

  1. Holding a Launch Event

  2. Educator & Student Training to recognize and interrupt bias Incidents when they occur

  3. Revise and Strengthen Protocols for Responding to Hate & Bias Incidents (Communication)

The group also identified other areas for future focus:

  1. Integration of Social Media Education into Digital Literacy Lessons

  2. Expand the ADL Programming: A World of Difference Program to JHS (possibly elementary)

  3. Expand use of Restorative Practices

  4. Provide Parent Education

The Leadership Coalition will continue to meet during the 2023-24 School Year and take an active role in planning and executing the three priority goals listed above.

The Leadership Coalition will seek several new members for the 2023-24 School Year.  The group meets for approximately two hours on a monthly basis during the school year.

For more information about this group, you may contact:

Peter Light, Superintendent of Schools ([email protected])

Jennifer Faber, Director for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion ([email protected])
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