News

Addressing the Issues of Racism and Inclusion at FASNY

Dear Members of the FASNY Community,

The world as we know it is rapidly changing on many fronts. However, it is the call for positive change towards full racial equality and inclusion that has deeply touched our own community. While we all watch the national and even international marches, peaceful protests, on-line discussions and demands for change, it is the courageous standing-up from members within our own community that has driven us to take immediate action. 

FASNY, like many schools across the country, has received complaints from both former and current students. They have experienced various forms of racism and exclusion that have hurt them deeply.  We want these students, as well as the entire community, to know that we are profoundly sorry. We apologize. We assume full responsibility for not having lived up to our school's mission of nurturing and focusing on the well-being of all students. While we cannot change the past, we have learned from it and are fully committed to building a better future. We invite each of you to join us on this journey. 

In keeping with our commitment to address racial inequality in our school, we have taken immediate action to address this matter.  The plan of action that we have put into place reflects FASNY's willingness to change and a desire to have this change be permanent and profound.  Thus far, in the month of June, FASNY has quickly taken the following steps:

We have held two listening roundtables to hear from alumni and parents. The goal of these roundtables was to allow everyone to share, in detail, the experiences they endured at our School. These experiences were mostly endured in painful silence. We are grateful that these students and their parents have agreed to share their experiences with the leadership of the school. 

New Racial Equality and Inclusion Task Force has been created to work within the School, across all constituencies, to eliminate racial inequality within FASNY. This task force held its first meeting this week and we are pleased to announce that it is composed of 16 members (4 parents, 2 students, 1 alum,  1 faculty member, 3 members of the School Administration, 2 Board members, the Head of School, the current Board Chair and the future Board Chair.) 

This task force will focus on 6 domains which include: 
 
  1. The Institution: Immediately establish a Racial Equality Task Force as well as a Board Committee for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion at FASNY; Revise school Guiding Statements accordingly 
  2. School Organization: Policies and Procedures: Establish internal structures, policies and procedures to support Black students and all students of color including reporting of behavior and subsequent action. 
  3. Curriculum and pedagogy: Develop culturally competent pedagogy and curriculum.
  4. Training: Plan and Conduct annual effective training for staff, students, parents (including prospective parents) and all stakeholders of the FASNY community. 
  5. HR & Admissions: Redouble initiative to diversify hiring of teachers, administrators and staff as well as continued recruitment of diverse students.
  6. Communication: Enhance internal and external communication with the visibility and exposure of the presence of Black students and all people of color. 

The task force will review these six areas within the School and make recommendations for change that the school leadership will consider. The task force will have the ability to recommend change and to monitor the progress within the School. 

The Board of Trustees will also be setting up a Diversity Committee which will work in full partnership with the Racial Equality and Inclusion Task Force. While their initial focus will be on race issues, the committee will have a broader goal of addressing diversity issues strategically. 

As we move forward, the task force will welcome all your ideas, concerns and calls for change. The action steps listed above are part of a  long-term process that will ensure permanent change within our School. We are committed to FASNY's role as a multicultural, multiracial leader in International learning. We are asking all members of the FASNY community to join us as we stand together in support of inclusion and against racism.  

We thank you for your support and your desire to create a better FASNY for us all,

The Racial Equality and Inclusion Task Force 
reitaskforce@fasny.org
 
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French-American School of New York International and Bilingual School