In response to numerous reports of racial harassment at its elementary and high schools, the Greendale School District promised to implement an equity plan that would foster a welcoming an inclusive learning environment for all students.
Despite genuine attempts by parents and community members to establish such a plan and despite claiming to be the leader of the equity plan rollout, it appears Greendale’s superintendent Gary Kiltz does not share the same level of concern for addressing racism in his District as he has repeatedly asserted.
Given the slew of complaints ACLU of Wisconsin, and the Greendale School District, has received from students who say they’ve experienced racism at school, along with countless media reports and parent complaints, we find Superintendent Klitz’s decision not to attend Friday’s meeting particularly troubling.
According to Greendale residents working to develop the action plan, Dr. Kiltz announced that he will not attend a steering committee meeting this Friday, where a final draft of the proposal is expected to be revealed for the public’s approval. The Superintendent informed the Committee, on which he serves as a co-chair, of his intent to miss the meeting only a week before the event, despite knowing of his pending absence for months.
Members of the Steering Committee, many of whom belong to a group called Parents Advocating for Greendale Equity (PAGE), feel that this development, along with a multitude of other incidents, demonstrates that Superintendent Klitz has not taken this issue seriously enough.
“PAGE members have long suspected that Dr. Kiltz has been acting in bad faith throughout this process and is not genuinely committed to making equity and inclusion an urgent priority in our community,” said Diania Merriett, the mother of an ACLU client and student who was persistently racially harassed at Greendale High School. “His carelessness and lack of respect for his collaborators in this endeavor confirms this.”
ACLU of Wisconsin Staff Attorney Asma Kadri Keeler provided the following statement:
“We have repeatedly urged the School District to commit to proactively combat racial harassment in its schools. Throughout this process, Dr. Kiltz has defended his actions as sufficient despite failing to attach value to student testimony of bullying and harassment, publicly dismissing parent complaints, and now choosing to miss a meeting he claims as one of his commitments to pursue racial equity.
The fact that Dr. Kiltz knew he could not attend this meeting for months and is now informing the public shows, at best disrespect for the time and commitment of those involved in this project, and at worst, a serious indifference for achieving racial equality in his school district.”