Letter to Sonoma County High School Administrators

March 13, 2017

Dear Administrators,

Following the recent presidential election, there has been a startling surge of racial discrimination across the United States. In the first ten days following the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center saw nearly 900 reports of racial harassment and intimidation; of course, one must take into account the number of hate crimes which went unreported as well. As the data suggests, schools have unfortunately been the most common venues for crimes such as these. 10,000 teachers across the nation were asked to respond to a prompt by the SPLC, and 90% of those surveyed noticed the negative impact these instances of discrimination have on the school climate.

We would like to give Sonoma County students an opportunity to anonymously evaluate the racial climate at their school. Below is a link to a short online survey we have created, based on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s racial climate survey for schools. We are submitting this to all Sonoma County high schools and we would like to be able to count on your support and participation in sharing this survey with your student body. The questions attached use a scale of 1-5 in order to determine whether students feel safe at their school, and if they have seen instances of racial abuse or harassment. We hope to collect data from as many schools across Sonoma County in order to propose a proactive plan for action with tools for educators to utilize to insure a positive and healthy learning environment for all Sonoma County students .

We kindly ask that the survey be distributed via an email blast and/or school e-newsletter starting March 15th, to be completed by April 15th, in order to allow time to analyze the data and its trends and report back to you in early May. The survey can be accessed here:

English https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JCschoolclimate
Spanish https://es.surveymonkey.com/r/ClimateEspanol

In this divisive era, the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ring especially true: “Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase”. The fight to end racial inequality is a duty that falls upon all of us. Now is the time to take another step. We hope you will join us.

Sincerely,
The Racial Equality and Justice Ad Hoc Committee of the Junior Commission on Human Rights

Copies: Sonoma County District Superintendents