Springboro schools considering plan to bolster diversity, inclusion

A Springboro school district committee has proposed creating a staff diversity & inclusion task force in each of the district’s six buildings.

The superintendent’s committee was created and has been meeting for the past several months. The committee was formed in response to a number of issues raised by parents following several incidents among Springboro students of color who have endured racist comments and action. A parents’ group was formed to seek change for their children.

Robyn Lightcap, a committee member and a parent on the superintendent’s diversity & inclusion committee proposed that the board of education create a task force comprised of school district staff, as well as recommending a swift timeline to launch it.

Lightcap said the goal was to empower the task force to “ensure every building is proactively creating an inclusive, respectful, supportive environment that is free from discrimination, racism, bigotry, harassment and bullying.”

The staff task force members would take the lead in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, and champion the values of equity and inclusion. Those members would also identify issues and barriers that students and teachers face, as well as implement solutions for students in their buildings.

In the proposal, the staff task force would start with one person and grow to two to six per building as they develop and implement programs. Lightcap said the committee is also recommending that the task force members be paid a stipend, similar to club advisers or coaches.

The committee proposed launching the task force this school year to get the initial staff member in place.

Board members listened to the presentation but took no action. Board Member Lisa Babb said these were the ideas that came out during the committee meetings.

“A lot of sweat equity has been put into this,” said Board President Dan Gudz. “It’s up to the board to work with Mr. (Superintendent Larry) Hook to operationalize this and make it work.”

Hook also said the district is planning to review all of its committees at an board’s upcoming meeting to discuss options and how to be more transparent while respecting privacy.

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