ST. PARIS – Graham Local Schools has formed a Diversity Collaborative to address diversity within the school district. This occurred after a Black Lives Matter banner was placed on a fence at Graham High School on June 25.
“The District did not receive any prior communication or request from those who installed the sign requesting use of the facilities,” said interim Superintendent Matt Curtis in an email to the Urbana Daily Citizen. “The District has facility use policies and guidelines that outline the process and procedures for buildings and grounds use. These policies are in place to create an orderly and fair process for any organization that is interested in using Graham facilities. The sign was removed because District policies and procedures were not properly followed and not in relation to its content.
“The District values diversity within the school community and remains committed to discussing diversity and inclusion issues,” he continued. “To that end, the District encourages dialogue with all of those interested in working to build an understanding and supportive community for all students.”
The Diversity Collaborative will be chaired by incoming Superintendent Brad Silvus, who Curtis said will regularly update the board of education on diversity issues within the district and community.
“The Graham Board of Education recognizes, celebrates, and values each of the students in our schools and in our community,” a press release from the superintendent’s office states. “Each student brings a unique perspective and contribution to us and to their education, much of which is not only due to life experience, but due to gender, race, religion, ethnicity, health, ability challenges, and national origins. We recognize and value these differences. The Board of Education will not tolerate any behavior that does not support students and staff, both individually and collectively. In light of recent events, we are excited to initiate and continue an ongoing movement of critical reflection, honest conversation, and respectful sharing of issues of injustice and prejudice in all forms within the school community for people of all ages.”
“The Board of Education is committed to carrying out the school’s mission of preparing our students for their future,” emailed Graham Local Board President Leslie Maurice. “The Board believes that the Diversity Collaborative is another positive approach to equip students with knowledge and skills, and provides a voice for all district stakeholders. We look forward to Mr. Silvus’ leadership in this collaborative effort and working with students, staff and community members throughout this process.”
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304