April 13, 2021
By Mike Kruzman / firstname.lastname@example.org
As the Hartland Consolidated School District’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee prepares to start training, the Board of Education has elected to form a subcommittee to provide oversight.
After revelations of racial harassment against a high school student came up this year, the district began working with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and formed a 21 member DEI Committee. That committee is set to begin training courses at the end of the month.
Recently, Board of Education Treasurer Bill Gatewood began working with Superintendent Chuck Hughes on figuring out a structure for a subcommittee of Board members who would oversee the main committee. This weekend, Gatewood posted on social media that the recommendation they came up with was met with resistance, and Hughes was forced to put another one together.
During Monday’s meeting, some board members spoke in dismay at the posting. Trustee Charlie Aburasturi accused Gatewood of breaking an unwritten rule in doing so. Gatewood responded by saying some unwritten rules were made to be broken and thanked his fellow board member for making that point.
Throughout the meeting, Hughes and board members reiterated their unanimous support for the main district committee, but a debate was held on the necessity of a subcommittee of Board members who will observe and report back to the full Board.
Those against it mentioned it being like a “middle man.” They felt it would be better if the main committee reported regularly to the Board, and even proposed holding a second monthly meeting to accommodate that if needed. Some wanted to hear about the progress being made together as a group of 7, versus through a group of 3 who they felt may filter what gets shared. That would allow them to digest and discuss information as a full Board.
Proponents of a subcommittee felt this would still happen, just like with the Board’s other subcommittees. Chris Costa argued in favor, saying he couldn’t wrap his head around why they wouldn’t feel diversity, equity and inclusion aren’t worthy of a subcommittee. Gatewood said this is the simplest thing that’s come before the Board and is being done in organizations all around the world without these levels of consternation or fear.
Normally it is up to the Board President in Hartland to form committees and assign members. The Board unanimously passed a motion deviating from that policy, allowing Costa to motion for the DEI subcommittee. The motion passed 4-3. Sub-committee members were not selected during the meeting.