On Friday, we posted the majority of responses on our third weekly question to school board candidates. It turns out getting answers from seven candidates is a bit like herding cats. So on Saturday we posted, Chuck Rairdan’s response and below we finally have the response from Tom Adams. We ask the following: On December 1, 2012, residents from Davis and across the region attended a Davis Human Relations Commission hosted event called “Breaking the Silence of Racism.” For a summary of the event please see here – https://www.davisvanguard.org/special-commentary-unaddressed-problems-for-child-of-color-in-djusd/
A number of the public commenters complained about climate issues in the school including racially based bullying, disparities in discipline between races, treatment of mixed race kids, and the lack of attention given to the issue of race and racism by school climate committees. Some parents of children of color or mixed race said that their children never were comfortable in Davis schools and ended up transferring.
In the two years since the event, minimal progress has been made.
If elected, how would you direct the district to address issues of race, race relations, and racism?
Tom Adams: School climate was a major concern of the assessment subcommittee of the Strategic Planning Process. We sought to have the district find a consistent measure of the attitudes of our students and the treatment and acceptance of different groups. One point of consensus was the need to understand how schools address issues of bullying, racial insensitivity and discrimination, and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. The Committee stated that Davis school district “needs . . . to ensure that students, parents and staff feel connected enough to collaborate in building the best possible educational environments for all of our children…. Some tools would assess school culture by studying attitudes, such as personal safety, social acceptance, and academic encouragement, and others would examine behaviors, such as parent and student participation in voluntary activities as well as teacher’s collaborations with one another.” Key to the plan was creating a task force that would focus on how to measure the different attitudes and the depth of positive and distributing trends in social acceptance of all students. I would support the creation of the task force as called for in the plan, the use of new tools of measuring attitudes of acceptance, and additional professional learning. As a school board member, I participate in the same education and learning that teachers, students, parents, staff, and administrators. I look forward to efforts to address issues of race, race relations, racism and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.