Jun 25, 2020

Dr. Briggs’ Message Regarding Racial Injustice Stories on Social Media

Racial Injustice Message image

Dear Pickerington community,

Pickerington Schools is aware of social media accounts that have been created as spaces for Black, African American, Indigenous and People of Color to share their stories and experiences. These accounts contain stories of racism, micro-aggressions, implicit bias, bullying and the feelings that accompany them. It is painful to read these stories and I am proud of the conviction of each person who has shared their truth! District leaders will continue to read these accounts as we navigate through this learning, reflecting and sharing time together. 

We want to help those that have shared stories pertaining to the district and to bring about change, but we can’t do that if we do not know the origin and trauma that has been endured on an individual basis. If you are a current student, please contact your building principal to begin an investigation. With the anonymity of Instagram accounts, which is where most of the stories have been posted, we can’t investigate, support or assist because we do not know the identity of those posting each situation and story. 

Also, please keep in mind that Pickerington Schools staff are not permitted to discuss the specifics of any individual investigation to comply with FERPA. So, you will not see any individual case claims addressed publicly. 

Accordingly, over the past few weeks, the district has been posting the italicized information below on these story-sharing accounts:

Pickerington Schools is committed to maintaining a learning and work environment that is free of harassment, discrimination or sexual misconduct. We encourage our current and former students, employees and others in the school community who feel they have been aggrieved to seek our help in addressing their complaints and concerns. 

Board Policy 5517 – Anti-Harassment — can be found at this link, under the Policies tab. We encourage those who wish to file a complaint of harassment or discrimination to review this policy to understand your rights, and our investigation procedures. District staff have been reaching out to those that we can identify who have posted stories to discuss their claims. Also, if you believe you have been the victim of a crime, you may consider filing a report with local law enforcement. The Pickerington Police Department can be reached at (614) 575-6911

Pickerington Schools staff are not permitted to discuss the specifics of any individual investigation to comply with FERPA.

Additionally, I hope you have had the opportunity to read my Juneteenth reflection. Our leadership team also shared a racial equity message on June 9. The leadership team’s message is posted on the district’s social media channels and on the “Diversity and Equity in Pickerington Schools” webpage. This webpage provides a summary of PLSD’s diversity and equity initiatives and more, including:

  • a list of curated resources to help educators, families and community members facilitate open discussions about race and racial justice.
  • details on diversity and inclusion trainings for PLSD staff. These trainings are required for each staff member and have been in place for many years.
  • information about a new committee — a Citizen’s Advisory Committee — comprised of (a majority of) community members and charged with creating open public forums to freely discuss cultural, racial, and ethnicity issues that can provide insight and improve our ability to work together as a community.
  • specifics about PLSD’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Committee. This committee focuses on internal district matters pertaining to diversity such as recruiting, curriculum and staff professional development.

It is unacceptable for any person to be treated poorly because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or national origin at Pickerington Schools. District leaders hope to be able to collaborate with members of the community, staff and students in the ways detailed above to continue the dialogue and to work to identify solutions, together. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Chris Briggs
Superintendent