NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — The Niagara Falls City School District is addressing systemic racism ahead of the start of the school year.
Staff members met Friday to talk about how it impacts education.
Forty staff members, who are also members of minority communities, met Friday and into groups of men and women so they felt comfortable bringing up topics before the school year starts.
This wasn't just for teachers. It involved all staff positions.
This is all happening as school reopens for remote and hybrid learning soon.
The staff members 2 On Your Side talked with say the district needs to hire more Black teachers and administrators and said it's important that children see more teachers who look like them. They would also like to see more Black history taught.
"I didn't know that George Washington had slaves, that's not in the history book. I didn't know anything about Garrett Morgan, who invented the gas mask, who was Black. Our history is not in our curriculum, and places, and some schools that have Black history like colleges who have it, it's a separate entity. One of these days, I would like to see it integrated, and celebrating Black history I think is an important thing because it's inclusive," says Michele Walker, a second-grade teacher.
The Niagara Falls City School District superintendent says they're also doing implicit bias training next month for administrators and staff.
He says there's an effort to hire a more diverse staff to better reflect the student population. Instead of the old alternative school, that building will now be home to a program that focuses on diversity and race.