Members: Dr. Nolin, Mr. Matt Brand (chair), Dr. Donna Mackenzie
Public: 4 members of the public attended
Dr. Nolin presented two documents as examples of policies that Natick could use as a starting point in adopting a Natick policy.
Overview provided to the committee by Dr. Nolin:
This is not a one meeting job
We need policies to back up the training that we already do.
Acknowledged that the Selectboard asked NPS to press pause the schools equity audit because of the Town wide Diversity and Equity Taskforce.
Dr. Nolin will be participating in Massachusetts Superintendent Equity working group.
NPS is participating in Harvard’s RIDES program. Dr. Nolin credited the directors of the Metco program for helping Natick win a spot in this program.
Desire to adopt policies like this before we become even more diverse so that we signal that we welcome differences.
Questions/comments from sub-committee members
Holiday & Homework Policy:
What is the religious makeup of Natick Students?
We will know more when the census comes out.
We do know that students are feeling that their religious backgrounds need to be better represented in our calendar.
Don’t want to fight with teachers about assigning homework before a major holiday. Would prefer to have a policy that creates a clear practice.
Affirmed the distinctions in the holiday categories - 1,2 3 and how clear it makes it.
General agreement around the Needham framework as a starting point
Desire to think through how we have the right amount of sensitivity when considering these things.
Would like to see some kind of open forum where a draft of a policy could be workshopped with the public.
Member acknowledged that while getting feedback is a normal practice, that it will be of particular importance to this policy.
Questions/comments from the public:
The policy attached to the agenda appears to be more like a hate crimes policy rather than a microaggression:
Dr. Nolin noted that it covered bias and was shared with her because it is listed in Needham as their microaggression policy.
Additional public input that the Needham document did not adequately address microaggressions
What kind of operational procedures would come from this policy? Would this require the principals or the schools staff to report microaggressions? The anti-bullying policy adopted by Natick was noted as an example that put specific measures in place.
Dr. Nolin noted that this was exactly why we needed a policy because right now there is no requirement in this area.
Where is Natick in development of something like this?
This is the beginning. We want to do research, look at any policy that is available and adopt one that fits our district.
What is the rationale about starting with a microagrression policy instead of an Anti-racist policy?
We have an anti-discrimination policy
Starting with microaggression allows us to think about the day to day
Both the holiday and this policy are important because there is so much to do.
Would the committee consider consulting the public before drafting the policy so that the public’s input was included in the original draft?
Committee feels as if draft first is a good way to begin as it gives something for people to work from.
Action Steps Dr. Nolin asked Mr. Brand to review any current policies in the district that might be gemane to this discussion and Dr. McKenzie to connect with policies through Massachusetts Association of School Committees.