413 - Addendum B - Responding to Racial and Biased Harm

Definition: Racial and biased harm has occurred where biased speech, conduct, or expression against a federally protected class (race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability) has an impact. A specific incidence could also rise to the level of a hate crime when a crime has been committed such as physical assault, vandalism, etc. and this crime is motivated in part or whole by bias against a federally protected class. (Source: Responding to Hate and Bias at School by Learning for Justice)

Response Protocol: For any incident of racial and biased harm, you are required to do the following:

Racial and Biased Harm has Occurred

  • You become aware that an incident or event of racial and biased harm has occurred. Whether impacting one student or many, you are required to enact the racial and/or biased harm protocol.
  • When you become aware, investigate immediately.
    • Take statements from any and all affected students, witnesses and accused. When additional information is provided after the original statement has been made, record it as a follow-up statement rather than a replacement of any original information.

Put Safety First

  • Secure the area and notify the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning.
    • If unavailable, notify the Director of Human Resources, Director of Educational Equity and Achievement and/or Superintendent.
    • A district team will be assembled to assist the building and site supervisor with support that is needed.
    • The building/site leader remains the lead throughout the process.
  • Determine and remove any students affected to a safe spot.
    • Offer appropriate supports (medicine bundles for American Indian students, etc.)
  • Determine and remove any staff affected to a safe spot.
  • Assess the need for increased supervision.

Communicate (Sample Template)

  • Denounce the act.
  • Communicate as soon as possible.
  • Determine who needs to have this provided to them first.
    • Call involved families asap to alert them of the incident.
      • For families of students who have experienced harm:
        • If the harm occurred due to the student’s sexual/gender identity, first check with the student to confirm whether or not their family is aware and supportive of their identity. Make a communication plan that will minimize further harm for the student. 
        • Share information and let them know the investigation is just starting.
        • Stress that this is being taken seriously.
        • Apologize for harm that has been done.
      • For families of students being accused:
        • Share information and let them know the investigation is just starting.
        • Have them pick their student up, issue a consequence or dismissal as appropriate pending further investigation.
  • Notify others.
    • SRO, Educational Equity Specialists, Family Engagement Coordinator, student support specialists and team, student and/or staff affinity, leadership, and equity teams as appropriate.
    • Other school sites as necessary.
    • Provide pre-communication for staff whenever possible about messages.
  • More widely denounce the act. (This is unacceptable and does not represent the values of WBLAS. Refer to our Equity Commitment and Resolution Supporting Commitment to Equity.)

Investigate (Template)

  • Initiate fact-finding to better understand the situation.
  • Electronic documentation of the incident, including investigation notes and statements from the affected students and witnesses.
  • Administrator-led set of identified standard questions that are asked when something occurs.
  • Maintain communication with Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning or Director of Human Resources.

Possible consequences for offender

  • Various consequences include out of school suspension, AWARE, etc.
  • As an option when partnering with families, when longer consequences may ensue, and/or concerns around violence exist:
    • Set up appointment for Social Worker and possibly the Safety and Emergency Supervisor to conduct a risk assessment.

Readmission plan for offender

  • Family comes in for a readmit with admin and possibly social worker.
  • Develop a safety plan to transition them back to their classes.
    • Possible alternate passing time, shadow, etc.
  • Restorative Circle with the offender and victim(s) as appropriate. Let honest and authentic conversations occur. Keep families involved in the restorative process and plan.
  • Additional check-ins with Academic Achievement Specialist (MS and HS) and/or other identified support staff as needed.

Involve others to Respond and Provide Support

  • Call appropriate Educational Equity Specialists/Academic Achievement Specialist
    • Alert them to the situation.
    • Start planning for healing circles.
    • Hold healing circles either that day or the following day as needed.
  • Involve social workers, counselors and student support team members to support targeted students and the offended students.
  • Involve case managers to support targeted and offended students.
  • Support for impacted adults is provided through administrative support.
  • Support for parents/families through staff and administration.
  • District team continues to partner with the building and site leader to provide consultation and support so that the response continues to be appropriate and done with urgency.
    • Additionally this team partners with the leader to assist in determining the next action steps with additional staff, students, families based on the magnitude of the act.

Follow-Up and On-Going Communication

  • Building administrator works with the Director of Communications to provide clear and timely communication to necessary stakeholders, including families, school staff, and district administration.

Important reminders:

  • Identify place to go for additional information (district/school website).
  • Provide accurate talking points (2-3 bullets) to office staff.
  • Provide accurate talking points (2-3 bullets) to all building staff.
  • Solicit misinformation intentionally from staff so accurate information can be shared.
     
  • Director of Communications works to ensure communication is available in multiple languages.
  • Building administrator should work with the Director of Communications on developing the messaging to families and then include staff on all family communication.
  • Complete summary form and submit to Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning.

Rebuild Relationships, Rebuild Community and Promote Healing

  • Follow-up activities or response for classrooms/grade levels/whole school, as necessary, depending on severity of the event.
  • Debrief the incident and reflect on actions taken, actions still needed, proactive work for the future.
  • Continue work through restorative practices that focus on repairing harm with deeper, more authentic learning and understanding of racism, hateful language, discriminatory acts, and bias.
  • Seek to restore through the rebuilding of relationships with feedback from stakeholders. Ensuring that you Involve students throughout this process is an important step as you continue to promote healing, repair harm and rebuild relationships.

Resources/Tools