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Oxford school board to consider racial reconciliation program

 

At a meeting Monday night, the Oxford School District Board of Trustees voted to proceed with further research into a free program offered by The William Winter Institute of Racial Reconciliation through the University of Mississippi.

According to their website, the Institute looks to, “support a movement of racial equity and wholeness as a pathway to ending and transcending all division and discrimination based on difference.”

Superintendent Brian Harvey said that the Institute would provide training on topics including implicit bias and microaggressions.

“It will be provided to all students and staff,” Harvey said. “The Board would also be included in the training in our Board Retreat.”

Community involvement

Apart from the school sessions, the Institute would also have Welcome Table Circles in which community members are welcome to join in the discussions.

“It’s a place where we can come together and share stories,” Harvey added. “Through that process, they have ensured me that there’s a healing process and one that builds trust. This is something we’re going to work with them to try and get scheduled.”

Harvey said that these open sessions could be held throughout the community whether in schools or in the libraries. The Board decided to move forward with a plan of holding these sessions monthly for two years in 90-minute increments.

The Board plans to hold a retreat to schedule the sessions once the holiday season is over.

“I’ve heard really good things about this,” said board member  Scott Shipman.

“Some of the parents who have spoken with us the past couple of months have mentioned some of these specific issues,” added Ray Hill, another board member. “And I think our teachers need to get trained on this and the board as well. I think it sounds like a great idea.”