MVP Indivisible calls on residents to push for school district’s proposed diversity policy, hinting at opposition


Pelham Memorial High School

Mount Vernon Pelham Indivisible has called on Pelham community members to email school board members in support of adoption of the proposed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policy, which will have its third reading at the board of education meeting Tuesday night.

In an email, Mount Vernon Pelham Indivisible suggested there is opposition to the policy circulating in Pelham. “Word has it that some folks think Pelham doesn’t need to address these issues in our schools, we’re just fine the way we are,” said the email, which was signed by Maryanne Joyce. “Looking to counter that message.”

A policy must receive three readings in order to be voted on by the board. The New York State Board of Regents in April called on districts to “develop policies that advance diversity, equity and inclusion as a priority in their schools.”

The Indivisible email called on residents to attend the meeting and speak in support of the new policy, as well as to write to the main board of education email and to Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ. It also asked residents to support the board’s cultural competency committee’s work. The committee presented its draft recommendations to the board June 16.

The DEI policy was created after the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools completed a racial equity audit and the cultural competence committee met through the school year. It includes developing and offering diverse and meaningful curriculum and resources for students and teachers and ensuring access to these resources to all students, as well as providing opportunities, social and emotional wellness, academic achievement and personal goals for every student.

Tuesday night’s session is the board’s annual reorganizational meeting and will include the swearing in of new school trustees Michael Owen-Michaane and Ian Rowe and the election the of the board president and vice president. There will also be public hearings on the draft district safety plan and the draft district code of conduct.

The open portion of the meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in Alumni Hall on the ground floor of Pelham Memorial High School following an executive session to discuss proposed litigation at 6 p.m.