Fayette school board talks diversity, ‘elephant in the room’

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Getting vaccines, improving public access and information sharing, the first phases of crafting a budget … the Fayette County School Board talked about all that Monday evening.

But board member Stephanie Spires brought up what she called “the elephant in the room” when she referred to a board of five Whites representing a district of more than 40,000 students who speak more than 90 languages.

She said the board should undergo unconscious bias and diversity training within 30 days as a first step in proving its commitment to diversity in word and deed.

Others agreed.

“To illustrate that this is something that we would recognize and rather than covering it up or running from it where going to embrace it and where going to work to engage and overcome our biases and work together to really make sure where representing our students,” Spires said.

“Any message that we  can send to the community to let them know that we are mindful of the diversity in the community and the composition of this board does not reflect that,” added board member Tom Jones.

“Get deep sometimes it takes a little bit of time and it takes a little bit of struggle so let the deep struggle began,” concluded interim School Superintendent Dr. Marlene Helm.

Board members said they also are working on ways to reopen public comment. And district administrators said they could know this week about access to coronavirus vaccines for staff.

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