Upper Adams School District Working with Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to Address Issues of Alleged Racism and Discrimination Shared Through Student Reports

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The Upper Adams School District today announced working with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) leadership to create a comprehensive plan to address past and present allegations of discrimination at Biglerville High School, located in the district.

Upper Adams School District

We are immediately working with racism experts at the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to develop expanded training and student outreach through the creation of brave spaces where students may communicate their experiences comfortably and start the healing process.

The Upper Adams School District today announced working with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) leadership to create a comprehensive plan to address past and present allegations of discrimination at Biglerville High School, located in the district.

The Upper Adams School District takes the concerns of its community very seriously and does not tolerate racism in any form, nor does it condone the behaviors that have been shared recently on various social media accounts. The experiences described do not reflect the School District’s values of respect and inclusivity. As a school committed to diversity and creating a safe environment free of bullying, the School District has launched an immediate action plan, including working with the PHRC and ensuring all reporting processes follow state requirements and procedures as it continues to investigate alleged reports of racism. All students and parents are asked to report any racist or bullying behavior through the Safe2Say Something School Safety Program at Safe2SayPa.org (https://www.safe2saypa.org), where information may also be reported anonymously.

“This community finds itself faced with an opportunity to step out of the shadows of hate,” PHRC Executive Director Chad Dion Lassiter said. “We have met with Superintendent Doll and appreciate his willingness to partner with PHRC to immediately put a plan in place to address these issues head-on and start the healing process. We encourage the students, faculty and community members to approach this difficult reality through a new lens, to try to see the humanity in your neighbors, and seek commonalities rather than differences. We are encouraged by our initial conversations with the Upper Adams School District and Biglerville High School administrators and look forward to working with members of this community on all levels.”

PHRC will provide Unconscious Bias Training for school faculty, staff and administrators at no cost to the School District. In addition, PHRC is providing recommendations and a diverse panel of experts to work with the School District, including Biglerville High School staff, on an ongoing basis with regularly scheduled sessions over the next few years to ensure that the school leadership is actively working to create a culturally relevant environment to affect meaningful change. Additionally, PHRC recommends that the School District administrators work collaboratively with the Adams County PHRC Advisory Council to open a conversation and conduct training in the community. PHRC will also help to facilitate an open forum to provide a brave space for therapeutic healing for all of those affected by this situation. The School District and the PHRC want to assure the community that the voices of students are essential to this change process and that students have a lot to teach us and the organizations are listening.

“Every student, of every background, is at the heart of our purpose and mission every day in the Upper Adams School District. I know I speak for our entire board, administration and staff when I say that we are deeply saddened by the stories being shared and we are fully committed to listening to our students, parents and community to identify and address any and all confirmed cases of racist behavior, discrimination and bullying. We are immediately working with racism experts at the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to develop expanded training and student outreach through the creation of brave spaces where students may communicate their experiences comfortably and start the healing process,” Wesley T. Doll, Ed.D., Superintendent of Upper Adams School District said.

The School District plans to share additional updates with the public as the comprehensive plan is finalized to address the allegations of racism and discrimination.

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About PA Human Relations Commission (PHRC):
The PA Human Relations Commission (PHRC) promotes equal opportunity for all and enforces Pennsylvania's civil rights laws that protect people from unlawful discrimination. As Pennsylvania's civil rights leader, it is our vision that all people in Pennsylvania will live, work, and learn free from unlawful discrimination. For more information: https://www.phrc.pa.gov/.

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