Riverhead School Board says it will review current DEI plan in wake of alleged bias incidents

Parents and community members who came to the school board meeting say they have serious questions about the district’s response to the alleged incidents and repeated pleas from them for more transparency and accountability.

News 12 Staff

Oct 11, 2023, 2:47 AM

Updated 184 days ago

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The Riverhead School Board announced it will conduct a “deep and comprehensive review of its current DEI plan” during a meeting Tuesday evening.
The announcement comes as the district has been dealing with alleged bias incidents, including the use of racial slurs and swastikas being drawn on desks.
"This should have been done a long time ago." said Lawrence Street, president of the NAACP'S East Long Island branch.
Street was among the dozens of community members and parents who attended the meeting to get answers from the board about the district's handling of alleged bias incidents and the superintendent's leave of absence.
District officials say they want the community to be a part of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion review process, but they say they remain skeptical.
The school board did not speak about the district superintendent’s unexplained leave of absence.
Statement by Acting Superintendent Dr. Galati:
"The Riverhead Central School District is committed to supporting all students, families and stakeholders with respect, integrity and sensitivity as addressed in the District's DEI Plan. It is through this Plan, prepared by the Riverhead CSD Diversity and Cross Cultural Task Force and adopted by the Board of Education in the spring of 2022, that we honor and respect the rich diversity within our district and provide necessary support for our students. Through the implementation of this plan, we have created a welcoming and affirming environment, are cognizant of how our students learn, and have structured an academic environment that is academically rigorous and intellectually challenging. The end result of these actions is the empowerment of our students as agents of positive social change and the recognition of their important voice in all aspects of learning.
 
This fall, we will be conducting a deep and comprehensive review of our current DEI Plan. Spearheading this initiative will be Dr. Emily Sanz, Director of SEL, ENL, Special Programs and Community Outreach. She will be chairing a committee of stakeholders consisting of members of our district and representation from the Riverhead Community. It will be important for the committee to use our current plan as a framework to assess how as a district we have met...or not met...essential goals in the plan. We will also be looking to this committee to outline our priority needs for professional development and reflection that will help ensure we meet desired DEI goals with fidelity and achieve outcomes that are positive, culturally sensitive and meaningful for our students and district stakeholders.
 
Dr. Sanz and I invite and welcome members of the community to be a part of this important work. I encourage anyone who would like to assist us in this effort to kindly send an email to Dr. Sanz iindicating your desire to be considered for this committee.
 
It is our goal to share with the Board of Education and the community the committee's findings and necessary upgrades to our District DEI Plan at a Board of Education meeting in the spring of 2024."


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