Commentary: Open letter to the Spokane School Board

A crowd listens to Lisa Gardner speak at a NAACP Town Hall event regarding racism in Spokane Public Schools.  (Robert Llyod/The Black Lens)
By Robert Lloyd The Black Lens

Dear Spokane School Board Members,

I am writing to bring to your attention a matter of great concern regarding the cultural sensitivity and inclusion of minority students within our school community. As an African-American retired educator it deeply troubles me to report instances where teachers have asked black and white students to dress up as slaves for educational purposes.

This practice, while perhaps well-intentioned from an educational perspective, is highly insensitive and could have lasting negative effects on the affected students. It reinforces harmful stereotypes, perpetuates historical trauma, and fails to acknowledge the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the students in our school.

As a member of a minority group, I believe it is crucial for educators to be more enlightened about the backgrounds of the students they serve. It is essential that our teachers understand and respect the cultural identities and sensitivities of all students, creating a safe and inclusive learning environment for everyone.

I urge the school board to take immediate action to address this issue and implement measures to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future. This may include providing cultural competency training for teachers and staff, revising curriculum materials to reflect diverse perspectives, and promoting a culture of inclusivity and respect within the school community.

I am confident that by working together, we can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all students at Wilson. Thank you for your attention to this important matter, and I look forward to seeing positive changes that reflect our commitment to diversity and inclusion.


Robert Lloyd

Retired Professor of Art EWU