Re: “Auburn students feel targeted by high school’s bid to address bias” (Nov. 1, Page A1):

Although not an expert in diversity, inclusion and equity, I have spent 40 years helping organizations around the world, including public schools, get better at what they do – by inviting organizational members to co-create a better work environment for the benefit of those whom they serve and for themselves.

Four decades have taught me about the complexities of this work. At Edward Little High School, it’s understandable that some students who were publicly singled out over the school’s PA system as belonging to a demographic that has experienced bias would feel angry. But stopping this well-staffed effort to address that bias is the wrong move.

The school has apologized. The consultant (whom I do not know personally) has a long, respected record of work in this field. The school has some exceptionally great student leaders, and the board has shown great courage and initiative sponsoring something like this.

Using this experience as a platform for learning rather than as a platform for blame could elevate the whole effort. Learning could lead to the consultant partnering with someone who is seen as a member of the demographics that are the target of bias in the school.

Administrators could learn that every step in such an effort should be done with at least some collaboration with the consultant. And the approach could become more evidence-based – i.e., using a positive rather than a deficit model of change. Much is possible – don’t stop now.

Bernard Mohr


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