The members of Community District Education Council 26 are crafting an anti-discrimination resolution that they hope will be applied in schools throughout the city.
“The purpose of this resolution is not targeted toward District 26. We want the chancellor to implement some of these actions throughout the school system,” Treasurer Albert Suhu said at the board’s virtual Sept. 29 meeting.
The “Resolution to Prevent Anti-Asian Racism and Aggressions in Schools” is still being drafted by the group, but Suhu said he hopes its final version will be ready to be voted on at District 26’s October meeting.
As of last week, the resolution demanded that Chancellor Meisha Porter “take concrete action citywide to prevent anti-Asian racism” by:
• eliminating the stereotype of “perpetual foreigners” by incorporating the full historical experience of Asian Americans into the school curriculum, modeled after a proposed bill by state Sen. John Liu (D-Bayside) that would mandate teaching children about Asian-American contributions to the civil rights movement and growth of the country;
• designating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May as an official celebration in the school calendar and incorporated into lesson plans;
• expanding middle school language programs to include Chinese, Korean, Hindi and other AAPI languages to encourage cultural exchange between Asian and non-Asian students;
• providing training to staff and parents on preventing anti-Asian bias and racist aggressions; and
• improving the reporting system for bullying incidents in order to reach parents unable to communicate in English.
Suhu said other CECs are working on their own resolutions.
“We want to show a strong voice to the chancellor of having many CECs concurrently working a resolution and improving it and making the chancellor aware that this is an important issue that needs to be addressed,” he said.
Superintendent Danielle Giunta said changes across District 26 are being made to ensure that its students are educated to various cultures and life experiences. Including more classroom celebrations, such as for the Lunar New Year and Black History Month, will be implemented in every school, she said, as well as diversifying libraries to include authors across various ethnic backgrounds.
“[We are] highlighting the importance of learning the differences between families and really thinking about people’s unique abilities, so ensuring that our students really have the ability to celebrate what makes us different and special and learning those pieces,” said Guinta.
The superintendent also said several students constructed their own statement against racism and discrimination, which she adopted as the district’s mission statement for the school year.