Every member of the Ames Community Schoolboard expressed support for the Black Lives Matter Week of Action on Monday night. The district held a regularly scheduled board meeting that lasted well into the 11 o’clock hour.
Monic Behnken asked Anthony Jones, the director of equity of the district, what the days would look like during the Black Lives Matter Week of Action.
He told her it depends on the building. Some buildings and classrooms will incorporate it into everything they do each day during the week while others will limit it.
Jamet Colton said she “fully supports” the effort. She called it “necessary, crucial work.”
“I like how expansive the curriculum is,” she said. “I just want to say that trans-affirming and queer-affirming work is life-saving work.”
Gina Perez noted that she really appreciates the work Jones has done.
“Your presentation was just wonderful,” she said. “I would say it was moving. I do think this is vital for our school district to go through this and I’d love to see it every year. It would be wonderful.”
Sabrina Shields-Cook sand it is important the students have a sense of belonging. Citing suicide rates among transgender people and black students, she said the work is important and necessary.
Michelle Lenkaitis said she’s “very proud and happy” the district is undertaking the Black Lives Matter Week of Action.
“Any time you’re introducing things that make people uncomfortable in order to move us forward, I think it’s great,” she said. “Clearly based on comments on Facebook and letters we’ve gotten, people are uncomfortable. That’s not a bad thing.”
Alisa Frandsen said she really appreciates the “affirming work” in letting all the kids know they are valued and cared for in the district. She said it is important everyone read the 13 guiding principles – both documents that include the principles for the older kids and the younger students.
“I also appreciate that you are meeting our teachers where they are and encouraging their growth,” she said to Jones.
Allen Bierbaum said the board should have presentations like this more often about topics related to equity.