BOE Seeking Comment on Nondiscrimination and Equity Policy
The Montgomery County Board of Education is proposing amendments to Board Policy ACA, Nondiscrimination, Equity, and Cultural Proficiency, and is seeking public comments on the amendments until Thursday, April 1. The draft policy reviewed by the Board on January 28, 2021 is available here. Public comments may be submitted here.
The Board’s Policy Management Committee recommended important changes, including amendments that prohibit the use of language and/or the display of images and symbols that promote hate.
Highlights of the Board’s proposed amendments include the following topics:
- The Montgomery County Board of Education has articulated a long-standing commitment to nondiscrimination, equity, and cultural proficiency, and Policy ACA was substantially revised in 2017 to reflect that commitment.
- All Maryland public schools are required by the Maryland State Department of Education to update their policies to incorporate terminology and commitments in alignment with regulations set forth in the Code of Maryland Regulations section 13A.01.06.
- The Policy Management Committee developed draft amendments to Policy ACA, Nondiscrimination, Equity, and Cultural Proficiency, to address language and/or symbols perceived to promote hatred, intimidation or harassment, in response to the October 27, 2020 memorandum from the Board of Education.
- Additional draft language has been proposed to reflect the Board’s commitment to anti-racism as evidenced by the Board’s action on November 10, 2020, to conduct an anti-racism audit of the impact of MCPS systems, practices and policies on access, opportunities and equitable outcomes for every student.
The Board and school system want to ensure MCPS students are physically, socially and psychologically safe. Students benefit from an environment where they feel valued, and MCPS is committed to schools and communities that are free of hate, bias and discrimination.
In recent years, MCPS has seen an uptick in the number of incidents involving hate-based graffiti such as swastikas, nooses and racist language. These incidents have been deeply disturbing and upsetting to students and disruptive to school operations. Acts of discrimination are defined in Board policies and MCPS regulations, as well as in the Student Code of Conduct in Montgomery County Public Schools, and A Student’s Guide to Rights and Responsibilities in Montgomery County Public Schools.
Board Policy ACA and A Student’s Guide to Rights and Responsibilities define discrimination as:
“Discrimination includes actions that are motivated by an invidious intent to target individuals based on their actual or perceived personal characteristics, as well as acts of hate, violence, insensitivity, disrespect, or retaliation—such as verbal abuse, harassment, slurs, threats, physical violence, vandalism, or destruction of property—that impede or affect the learning or work environment.”
For more information, relevant MCPS and external resources are available below.
- Policy ACA, Nondiscrimination, Equity, and Cultural Proficiency
- A Student’s Guide to Students Rights and Responsibilities
- Student Code of Conduct
- Guidelines for Respecting Religious Diversity
- Guidelines for Student Gender Identity
- MCPS Antiracist Audit
- Anti-Defamation League Hate Symbols Database
- Teaching Tolerance