Bangor doubled down on its commitment to provide diversity and equity training in schools after a teacher’s lesson on race and privilege received backlash from a pro-Trump group, where a parent shared it.
The seventh-grade teacher at Bangor’s James F. Doughty school received vitriol and hateful comments online over the holiday weekend, including people calling for her resignation.
The incident was an example of the polarized reaction that the Bangor School Department received as it takes actions to address racism within the city’s schools that Black students brought to light this June.
But on Thursday, the school committee solidified its commitment to diversity training,
“We must be more accepting and understanding of what it’s like to walk in other people’s shoes. Life is not the same for all of us and the color of our skin, our sexuality and gender all play a part in the opportunities that we have, and how we are treated by others,” committee chair Warren Caruso said.
“We are, as a committee, 100 percent committed to the training of our staff in the areas of anti-racism and equity. We approve the decisions to add curriculum and discussions on social equity issues including targeted and privileged identities,” he said.
Caruso also reiterated the point that Superintendent Betsy Webb made in her email to parents on Monday which called for more tolerance and kindness, and asked parents to contact the school directly to discuss any issues about the curriculum.
“Last week’s situation with the teacher being recorded was disappointing,” he said. “Educators must not be subject to this type of treatment, and they should not be recorded and posted on social media.”
The diversity training was one of the commitments that the Bangor School Department made after five Black students shared their experiences with racism, including being called the N-word in school.
On Thursday, the school committee also voted to authorize a committee on diversity, equity and inclusion that will act in an advisory capacity to the superintendent.