In a school district catching attention for racist acts by and against students, Burlington school board members Monday rejected the bulk of an anti-racism policy proposed by a community coalition.
The board voted for some changes to its anti-harassment policy, adding a statement opposing racism and defining prohibited forms of racism. It excluded other ideas, offered by the Burlington Coalition for Dismantling Racism, to address racist acts, improve curriculum, close disparities in disciplinary actions and assess other needs.
Some board members said they planned to pursue parts of the coalition's proposal in future administrative rules.
"Our work’s not done yet," board member Peter Turke said in an interview. "I think our end goal is the same as the coalition."
Darnisha Garbade, who started the coalition, said the policy's shortcomings were "unacceptable," noting that the coalition's proposed policy was modeled on policies already adopted by other school districts.
Garbade has been raising concerns for years about racist treatment of her children in the school district. On Monday, hours before the school board meeting, she was joined by at least 50 supporters in a protest at Echo Lake Park, where faith leaders led prayers.