4J School Board Approves Anti-Racism Resolution, Discusses Religious Holiday Policies

Jun 24, 2020

 

Credit Elizabeth Gabriel / KLCC News

On Wednesday, the Eugene 4J school board held a special meeting to approve a resolution related to anti-racism and equity. The board said they are committed to using district resources to provide meaningful learning environments for all students.

4J unanimously passed a resolution that expressed their commitment to provide equitable and effective instruction so all students can thrive socially, emotionally, and academically. The resolution also said they are working to reduce disparities for students of color, as well as students with disabilities.

The resolution was passed after the school board renewed the district’s contract with the Eugene Police Department for another six months as they work with the community to modify the duties of school resource officers.

The board also discussed updating their policies for religious observations. This comes after many 4J students and parents have urged them to update the academic calendar so students do not have to choose between school events and religious observances. The board has discussed this throughout the school year, but they have not determined the best way to equitably allow students to observe additional major holidays.

According to 4J counsel Christine Nesbit, the board should be aware of the legal ramifications.

“The board must also consider the legitimate interests of all students in receiving education and enrichment, and in particular, consider the potential burden on students who are not the recipients of the requested accommodation and who are required by law to attend school,” said Nesbit.

Board members will vote to update the district’s religious holiday policies at a future meeting. The next school board meeting will be August 5, with the goal of approving a new policy on religious holidays before next school year.