On December 2nd 2021, Superintendent Bill Kimball released a statement detailing the Maple Run Unified School District’s request that classrooms “…not host any holiday celebrations or post any holiday symbols in classrooms and school sponsored activities.” This is explained via the intention to uphold values of equity, to “call out systems of inequity” and “honor inclusion of all students and families.” (full statement)
We in NSSA Leadership believe that Superintendent Kimball’s decision to remove holiday celebrations and holiday symbols from classrooms is counter to the spirit of inclusion and belonging, and it removes what should be an opportunity for students to learn about and celebrate religious and cultural differences.
We urge Superintendent Kimball and MRUSD to take an educational approach, rather than one of erasure: engage students, teachers, and staff in an exploration of various cultural and religious holidays; involve community members who celebrate these holidays and holy days in the planning of said events, celebrations, and learning opportunities; and, communicate to students, employees, and families the importance of learning about and valuing difference.
We also believe that Superintendent Kimball’s decision reflects a lack of understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. This is disconcerting in the greater context of MRUSD’s decision to dissolve their Equity Committee, following the appointment of the first Black Co-Chair. We call on the MRUSD to reinstate the Equity Committee and charge it with addressing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the curriculum, culture, and operations of the MRUSD.
In the spirit of building community, we encourage all those in St. Albans and beyond to learn about and embrace the holidays and holy days of our neighbors. Equity and inclusion do not come from the silencing of voices, but from the joyful organization of all voices together, into chorus.
Neighbors for a Safer Saint Albans Leadership: