Commitment To Diversity Must Be Demonstrated

Oct. 12, 2020

Editor, The News-Gazette:

Rockbridge County School Board Chair Wendy Lovell deserves praise for keeping an open line of communication with the community. It is reassuring to know the School Board and RCPS administrators share our concerns about the lack of educators of color in our schools.

Nevertheless, given the urgency of the matter, it bears repeating the importance of having a diverse body of educators —teachers, coaches, counselors and professional administrators of color. We live in a diverse society, and our schools need to reflect that diversity. Our Black and Brown children would benefit, both academically and personally, from having educators who look like them; and our white children would benefit too, because having educators of color would open their minds to different life experiences and viewpoints, thus helping them develop their critical thinking skills.

It has been extremely disappointing to see RCHS miss the opportunity to hire a qualified and experienced Black basketball coach with strong ties to Lexington. The process that led to the hiring of Athletic Director Gale to coach basketball — no matter how qualified Mr. Gale is — has raised questions, and for good reasons. RCPS need to do better. They must show through action they really mean it when they say they are committed to diversity and inclusion. They must be proactive in recruiting educators of color, and transparent about the hiring process and the decisions made.

As we move ahead in our common goal of hiring qualified educators of color, let’s not forget either the importance of having a school curriculum based on science and grounded on historical research. Our children deserve to be educated on the history of slavery in this country; this isn’t “Black” history, but our national history.

CHRISTINA PINTO-BAILEY

Chair, Rockbridge NAACP Education Committee

The News-Gazette

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