High School will fly Black Lives Matter flag in celebration of “National Black Lives Matter at School Week”
— Adelle Nazarian (@AdelleNaz) February 2, 2018
FROM: Burlington Press
A Black Lives Matter flag will fly during the month of February, which is Black History Month, in front of Montpelier High School, the Montpelier Public Schools announced Wednesday.
The decision came after members of the student-led Racial Justice Alliance appeared before the School Board on Jan. 17 to speak about the issue, a news release from the school states.
“Vermont has a long history of being at the forefront of civil rights movements,” the news release reads. “Our state was the first to abolish slavery in its constitution, and the first to enroll and graduate a black student, who subsequently served in the state legislature. The School Board’s decision to fly a Black Lives Matter flag builds on that legacy.”
In a statement to the school’s board, students from the Racial Justice Alliance said the action would be part of a wider campaign of growing awareness and making changes to the school’s curriculum, climate and “shared understanding of the need for racial justice.” They said some progress has been made, including curriculum changes, administrative training, faculty in-service training, a school-wide assembly and other initiatives.
“And yet, we need to do more to raise our predominantly white community’s collective consciousness to better recognize white privilege and implicit bias,” the Racial Justice Alliance’s statement said.
The group added, “We will raise the flag with love in our hearts and courage in our voices. We reject any purported connections to violence or hate that may or may not have occurred under the Black Lives Matter flag. We recognize that all lives do matter, but in the same spirit, not all lives are acknowledged for their equal importance until black lives have been.”
The School Board unanimously voted on Jan. 17 to raise the Black Lives Matter flag in front of Montpelier High School next month.
“In taking this step the board and administration recognize student leadership and their desire for support,” said Superintendent Brian Ricca in a statement.
The School Board recognizes that some members of the community might not agree with its decision. Board members welcome those people to engage in a “constructive and peaceful dialogue, in the hopes of deepening our shared understanding of race and privilege in our education system and broader community.”