Anti-Discrimination In Schools
The Accountability Initiative originally started as a one time project aimed at combatting racism within schools in the North Brunswick Township School District in Central New Jersey. The project had 3 phases that led to positive changes being made in the school district.
This project was facilitated by Andrew Ankamah Jr, Nakaja Weaver, Alexis Drew, and Prince Turay.
Phase 1: Community Feedback
We put together two surveys for the student body. The first was to share their stories and experiences of racism or any form of discrimination within the school district. The second survey asked students if they were aware of certain resources that the school provided. We collected nearly 200 responses between the two surveys. We found that many students have had at least some experiences of discrimination during their time in the school district. We also found that students of color weren't as aware of school resources as compared to their white counterparts.
“In my experience, there are so many people at this school who have and continue to use the n word, even in light of recent events to the point where I was desensitized to it and it had become disgustingly normalized. Whenever I tried to tell a person to stop, they would shout the word back at me."
-Student, Class of 2021
Phase 2: Discussion on Solutions
We then put together a Zoom Meeting open to Students, Teachers, Parents, or anyone in the community to not only voice their concerns, but come together and brainstorm solutions to move forward. The meeting lasted almost two hours and had multiple participants. We then came up with a list of solutions to present to district officials.
Phase 3: Meeting With Town & District Leadership
The final phase of this project was to present the student stories, experiences, and survey results collected from Phase 1 as well as the solutions brainstormed in Phase 2 to the North Brunswick Township Board of Education, Superintendent, Mayor, and School Administrators. The meeting was very productive and in the months that followed, led to significant changes throughout the district:
A Black History Course introduced at the High School
An Equity Task Force was formed to address & prevent future incidents of discrimination in the future
An update to the student handbook regarding incidents of discrimination & appropriate repercussions
Microaggression training for staff members
A commitment to hiring more staff members of color