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MPS’ Board of Education adopts policy prohibiting race, sex discrimination

Mustang Public Schools’ Board of Education implemented a policy on prohibition of race and sex discrimination in curriculum and complaint process at its Monday meeting.

Since the Oklahoma Legislature passed House Bill 1775, school districts must have a policy that addresses race and sex discrimination in teaching prior to the school year starting. 

In addition to adopting Policy 1114, the district also introduced guidelines for teachers in relation to the law. They are meant to provide explanations to teachers that if they’re following the state-adopted curriculum and they’re not invoking their opinions during instruction; they can continue to teach how they have been, Super-intendent Charles Bradley said.

There are eight prohibitions outlined in the law. Teachers cannot require or make part of any course offered in public school the following discriminatory principles:

1.) … “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;”

2.) … “an individual, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;”

3.) … “an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of their race or sex;”

4.) … “members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex;”

5.) … “an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by their race or sex;”

6.) … “an individual, by virtue of their race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other member of the same race or sex;”

7.) … “any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of their race or sex;”

8.) … “meritocracy or traits, such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race.”

As stated in MPS’ policy, for a complaint to be accepted for investigation, it must meet the following criteria:

A.) be submitted in writing, signed and dated by the complainant;

B.) identify the dates the alleged discriminatory act occurred;

C.) explain the alleged violation and how the eight principles have been violated;

D.) include relevant information that would enable MPS to investigate the violation; and

E.) identify witnesses the school may interview.

“The school district shall investigate all legally sufficient complaints and decide as to whether a violation occurred,” according to the policy.

Investigations will be completed within 90 days of the complaint.

Any individual can file a complaint alleging a violation of any of the eight principles occurred by calling 405-256-6982 or emailing Robbyn Glinsmann at glinsmannr@mustangps.org.

Board clarifies revised Health, Safety Plan

Regarding the district’s Return to Learn Health and Safety Plan, members discussed the recently revised edition. Bradley clarified what school boards can do if Gov. Kevin Stitt were to issue a state of emergency.

As Senate Bill 658 stands, school boards cannot have a mask mandate without the governor’s decision.

“It is what it is,” Bradley said.

However, if Stitt were to issue the emergency, school boards cannot immediately issue a mask mandate for their districts.

“It just opens the door for boards to have a conversation about masks,” Bradley said.

The district will also continue to contact trace. Although, there are restrictions on what district officials can ask students.

SB658 also allows parents to decide if their student will quarantine or not after being in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case. If a student is quarantined, they will also still have access to online learning through one of the district’s platforms.

More changes consist of the health department creating a list of symptoms students must meet before returning to classrooms, like being fever-free.

Regarding employees’ guidelines, they are recommended to follow quarantines after a close contact. If they have been vaccinated, they can be exempt from quarantine, as well as if they were wearing a mask at the time of the close contact.

The district also wanted to establish an option for employees, who wished to remain on campus if they were quarantining. They must agree to wear a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compliant mask while on campus throughout their quarantine duration.

If symptoms were to become present, the situation would be different, as they would need to consult with their physician and take a COVID-19 test, Bradley added.

The board also approved allowing Bradley to make quick decisions without first meeting with the members. Bradley will be able to make decisions by classroom, grade level and individual buildings in COVID-related events.

A district decision would only be made if there were a staff shortage, the superintendent said.

If a state of emergency is enacted, the board would meet to make a decision together.

District exceeds number of students lost last year, due to the pandemic

In position news, the board approved the creation of a Community Education director. The program is one of the district’s newest and provides affordable learning opportunities to all ages and skill levels in the community.

Bradley said Community Education is not on the comeback, due to the increase in cases. However, Chief Financial Officer Nancy McKay said it will be available online, as there are many people who are interested in it. The district is still determining what platform they will use.

In purchase news, members approved purchasing four 14-passenger activity buses from Summit Bus, which is on the state’s contract list, for a total of $240,264. The board also approved purchasing two Chevrolet Suburbans from Joe Cooper Ford for a total of $86,144. 

In financial news, $10 million is McKay’s end of fiscal year goal.

“We’ve grown a lot of students,” McKay said.

She said the district has 200 more students than the 500 who were lost last year, due to many moving to virtual charter schools because of the pandemic. By the end of 2022, McKay is also hopeful MPS will be back to a 14% fund balance.

In Bradley’s report, MPS will induct 10 alumni into the Mustang Athletics Hall of Fame at its banquet Aug. 21.

In member news, clerk Stacy Oldham was absent.

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