Thursday, October 11, 2012

HMS Civil Rights Team

Last year as a Civil Rights Team Program affiliate we had this focus:
  • Creating a safer school environment for all students.
  • Helping all students understand the terrible toll bullying can take on its victims.
  • Encouraging students to stand up for their classmates who are being teased, bullied, or harassed.
  • Being part of the solution and not the problem.
  • Zero indifference.
  • A school with a conscience.
This year we will be a "full-fledged" Civil Rights Team. 
  • What is our focus? Bias and bias behaviors, especially those related to the protected civil rights categories.
  • Where is our focus? In the school Community.
  • What do we do? Address issues of bias in our school community through education, awareness, dialogue, and discussion.
  • Who is on the Team? Any student may join the HMS CRT, participation is 100% voluntary.
  • What do we call ourselves? The HMS Civil Rights Team - we will develop our slogan and/or logo.
  • Meetings: We meet every Thursday from 2:30 to 3:00.
State expectations of our Civil Rights Team?
  1. Create a Team Identity: This includes basic education at the beginning of the year. Students need to understand why they are on a civil rights team. They have to want to be there, and they need to believe in the core mission of the Civil Rights Team Project. After that they can come together as a team.
  2. Increase the Team's Profile: We think it's important that your school knows about the civil rights team. Everyone should know that the school has a civil rights team; as much as they know that there is a basketball team. Not only should everyone know that the school has a team, but they should know what the civil rights team is for and about. Ideally, everyone know who is on the team and what they do.
  3. Identify School Issues: The civil rights team shouldn't be operating under any assumptions. You need to know what's going on in the school. Each school is unique, and so it will take some work to identify the civil rights and climate issues most relevant to your school.
  4. Address School Issues: This is the most important thing that civil rights teams do. They need to be active in addressing the important issues in the school. This should not be abstract or indirect; there should be clear activities and projects that take dead aim at civil rights and climate issues relevant to the school.
  5. Respond When Thing Go Wrong: Teams should be ready to respond when something goes wrong in the school. Incidents deserve immediate attention. This might mean dropping whatever the team is working on to offer some sort of public and visible response.
This means that we will be focusing on behaviors motivated by bias. For example, was the name-calling motivated by race and color, ancestry and national origin, religion, physical and mental disability, gender, sexual orientation, personal appearance or family status.

Other behaviors that we will focus on are teasing/mockery, jokes, stereotypes and exclusion. Again, through the lens of bias.

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