An Equity Lens on School Safety

Three district parents spoke at the last board meeting to ask whether the results of the district’s equity survey would be made public, and to request an update on the student anti-racism group’s “asks” last December.

These speakers drove home the point that equity requires continued work in our schools. And they also reminded me of how closely equity is intertwined with the ongoing discussion of school safety during the pandemic.

We have known for over a year now that, on average, the parents of minority students express greater support for universal masking in schools than white parents. And there are good reasons for this: According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, Black, Hispanic, Asian and other minority children are all dying of covid at many times the rate of white children. They are also more likely to suffer severe, and long-term, covid symptoms.

This is a helpful reminder that our own experiences in the world aren’t universal. Different families face different challenges. As we consider how to keep our schools safe in the midst of a local resurgence in the pandemic, a more contagious Delta variant, and a lack of vaccines for those under twelve, it is worth accounting for the full range of needs in the district, not just our own.

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