Admin Must Support Leadership Equity


Makayla Erickson

All too often, the responsibility for equity education falls on the shoulders of students.

The feeling of being ignored by administration is not a randomly occurring, or rare, event at Campolindo. Whether you talk with graduated alumni who have distanced themselves from high school, or with current students on campus, the narrative of feeling unheard by administrators remains consistent.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the administration has sat back and done nothing over the years as racial discrimination runs rampant on campus. The creation of the Zoom Cohort Academies and the Leadership Equity Council (LEC) says otherwise. The issue, instead, is that they simply aren’t doing enough.

The Leadership Equity Council, a branch of Leadership which focuses on facilitating equity on campus, is mostly student run, overseen by World History and AP Art History (APAH) teacher Molly Kerr. Students meet during 5th period in Kerr’s classroom and during academies, discussing the current affairs on campus, and solutions that they, as community leaders, can use to bring about change.

Those on the Leadership Equity Council are tasked with addressing the realities of bias on campus, through discussion, changes to curriculum that is largely based upon faculty agreement, and action that is often blocked by the district, such as their inability to make necessary edits to the equity academy slides without the district’s full permission.

The harsh reality is that the racism and other forms of bigotry, which admin reduces to the term of “bias,” that we see on campus isn’t new, and will not be deconstructed through discussion or academy lessons on equity that are few and far between. But that’s not just the LEC’s burden to fix alone; to actually make change, a combined effort of students, faculty, and administration needs to be prioritized.

And while student representation in these changes, especially of students of color, is necessary, administration needs to stop relying on students of color on a school committee to find out what needs to be done.

The establishment of the LEC and other voluntary classes like Intro to Ethnic Studies are a start, but to actually tear down the hatred that we see at school, there needs to be changes at the foundational level. Students should be required to take classes that work to change the narrative that contemporary society was built on equality in order to graduate. Historic and contemporary experiences of marginalized groups must be applied in every classroom. Spending all of freshman year discussing western history and labelling it “world history” does nothing to combat the euro-centric ideas of race that manifest on campus.

Ensuring and facilitating equity on campus is the job of administrators and faculty. In the same way that health education, history, biology, and English are unavoidable classes that every student must take in order to achieve their diploma, classes about current instances of discrimination and marginalization, about cultures and people that exist today despite it all, and about how the institutions we know today were built, and continue, to work against and undermine people of color’s place in society.

Though there are many that do, such as the students on the LEC, there is a worryingly large proportion of students at Campo that do not agree with the concepts of privilege and systemic discrimination. Many do not understand, nor care, why it is so imperative that we make attempts to facilitate equity on campus. It is the administration’s responsibility to work against this.

And there is only so much students on a committee that has not even existed a year can accomplish and, the truth is, the LEC alone is not enough to change the minds of their peers, or to maintain equity on campus.

Administration needs to step up. They can start by addressing the discrimination and hate on campus for what it is: racism. Bias is too nice a word to use in reference to what occurs on campus, in our town, and in our government. Racism, transphobia, anti-semitism, and other forms of bigotry are alive and well on our campus, and the only way we can tear them down is to address them directly.

The path to facilitating and maintaining equity on campus is undeniably a difficult one, especially because the racism on campus has been allowed to run unchecked for so long. But through student and faculty work alike, the conversation has started.

The question, now, is who is going to continue it.