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Message to the Community

On September 3, instruction at Strath Haven High School was interrupted on three separate occasions by outbursts containing homophobic and racial slurs. It is believed that all three incidents were perpetrated by Wallingford-Swarthmore students. The Wallingford-Swarthmore School District (WSSD) and Board of Directors condemn these hateful acts. Racism and hate have no place in our schools or in our society. We will not tolerate the use of homophobic or racial slurs by students or anyone affiliated with our district. Investigations are underway of each incident and disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with district policy.
 
WSSD has made a firm commitment to addressing school climate with respect to racism, homophobia and all forms of hate. The following actions are currently underway to address school climate:
 

Training: 
The District contracted with the Southern Poverty Law Center to bring its Teaching Tolerance program to our schools. This is a systematic training program that emphasizes social justice and anti-bias. Training for teachers and administrators began in August and will continue throughout the 2020-21 school year.

 

Libraries: 
We are assessing and expanding the diversity of our classroom libraries. This is a continuation of work that began in the prior school year.

 

Curriculum
We are completing a comprehensive review of our History curriculum to ensure that all of our history is represented and that anti-bias education and social justice are incorporated into the educational experience 

 

Community Partnerships
We have initiated discussions with the NAACP Media Chapter  and the Anti-Defamation League to engage in various school and community conversations and initiatives. 

 

Board DEI Subcommittee and Community-Wide DEI Action Committee: 
The Board formed a DEI Subcommittee to guide and oversee the District's work to address diversity, equity and inclusion. We also established a Community-Wide DEI Action Committee to inform and guide our work, and to help us partner with the broader WSSD community.

 

District Equity Audit: 
We are in the early stages of planning for a District-wide equity audit to be led by an external contractor. Efforts are underway to identify potential contractors and establish a timeframe for beginning audit work.

 
We shared the information about the incidents that occurred on September 3 with Strath Haven High School students, families, and staff. We are informing the broader WSSD community because we also need your help. Hateful and racist actions that occur within the context of our learning environment are a mirror of what is taking place in our communities. Opportunities for establishing a broader community partnership to end racism and hate in our schools and our community will be discussed at the September 16 meeting of the WSSD Community-Wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Committee. 
                                                 
Lisa Palmer
Superintendent of Schools