Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to common questions asked about Equity at CSD:
How can I get in touch with the equity department?
Our District Equity Director is Dr. Mari Ann Banks. Her office is located on the 2nd floor of the Wilson School Support Center @ 125 Electric Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030.
Office # 404/ 371 . 3601 Cell # 404/ 977 . 1684
Our District Equity Coordinator is Mr. Anthony Downer. His office is located on the 2nd floor of the Wilson School Support Center @ 125 Electric Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030.
Office # 404/ 371 . ???? Cell # 404/ 977 . ????
How is CSD defining educational equity?
City Schools of Decatur will have achieved educational equity when ALL students have the resources, opportunities, and rigorous and relevant learning needed to enable their educational success.
We believe that educational equity requires . . .
high expectations for all students.
a culture that honors all students and staff regardless of cultural or racial background.
a culture that is reflective and inclusive of all students and staff regardless of cultural or racial background.
the systematic use of data to determine and establish an equitable allocation of resources.
the intentional development and implementation of district policies and practices with a focus on amplifying equity.
working together to eliminate predictable patterns of academic achievement based on race, socioeconomic status, and gender.
We also believe that . . .
positive relationships form the foundation of an equitable school district.
a world-class education requires racial consciousness, cross-cultural awareness, and gender equity.
all students should be empowered to be active participants in their own learning.
school does not have to look the same for each and every student and outcomes can still be high.
we must measure our efforts to promote equity to ensure that “all means all.”
As a KEY part of educational equity - CSD has committed to closing achievement and discipline gaps between white and black students. However, the "achievement" or "discipline gap" is NOT what we are addressing - we are paying our Education Debt!
The philosophy of an "Education Debt" was developed by Gloria Ladson Billings - a simply phenomenal scholar who first coined the phrase. You can learn more about the incorrect way we have defined insistent racial achievement and discipline separations between students in the past and, the debt we owe in the present, at the link above.
Racism isn’t something that happens “somewhere else.” Unfortunately, it happens right here in the halls of our schools, within the confines of our academic departments, and throughout our city, state, and country. It is sometimes purposely inflicted by strangers, other times unconsciously by well-intentioned colleagues and friends, and, most influentially, systemically. If you believe you have experienced racism at CSD it is imperative that we investigate and address your concerns.
Please share your experience with your school or district administrator. If you have done so but are not satisfied with the outcome, or if you are uncomfortable contacting your administrator and you would like more help, you can:
contact the Equity office by completing the form at this link.
if you prefer to remain anonymous, use the form at this link.
I think a curricular material is racist; how do I complain?
You think a curricular material is racist (ableist, sexist, etc.) or you have questions about racism in the GA standards of excellence. Depending on the material, there are varied ways to lodge a complaint. Please start by sharing your concern with your school's administrator or instructional specialist who will assist you from that point forward.
I think a library material (book, e-book, periodical, etc.) is racist (ableist, sexist, etc.). How do I express my concern?
Please direct concerns about library material to your school's media specialist.
How many students, teachers, and/or administrators of color are in the district?
You can find this type of information on our Equity Dashboard page.
Where does CSD stand on teaching about race, Critical Race Theory and/or the 1619 Project?
With the signing of HB 1084 and other so-called "parental rights bills," Georgia joins many other Republican-led states that have passed laws or other policies to limit how teachers can discuss race and racism in classrooms. This sets a dangerous precedent that allows our government to dictate, control, conceal, and censor accurate information. Such bills distort the truth and attempt to sanitize history at a time when awareness of systemic racism is growing across the US, and young people are making their desires to stop such generational sickness known in ever-increasing numbers. CSD's Administration and Board members have previously made a statement in support of teaching about racial equity. That opinion has not changed.
While Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project are not part of our official curriculum, we see no issue with this type of information. Unlike many GA legislators, we realize that providing multiple, honest perspectives of our country's history is imperative to developing and effectively educating students. Nonetheless, the District follows all laws of the State of Georgia and will adhere to the letter of 1084 and others like it as we are best able to interpret them.
CSD employees often say, "We can't just be against racism - we must be anti-racist". What does that statement mean?
Defeating racism calls for more than just "disagreeing with" or "disliking it" — we've got to consistently and actively work towards equality for all races while striving to undo racism in our minds, our personal environments, and the world.
In other words, we all have to do active work against racism - or - we are upholding racism.
I am (my student is) considering a gender transition. What should I do?
CSD stands by our transitioning/gender-expansive students with the full knowledge that gender, like so many other identities, is on a spectrum. All young people should have their dignity and humanity respected and this includes young people who are transgender, gender-fluid, or who embody any other non-cisgender identity.
While it is desired, a student does not have to have the permission of his/her parents to initiate an in-school transition process. The present policy exists largely due to CSD's desire to protect students and keep them mentally and physically safe.
If you are (or your student is) considering a transition in gender identification, CSD has established a process to help make the transition safe, respectful, and equitable. To start this process, please contact your school's counselor. The procedure moving forward from that point will be developed jointly by the student and/or guardian(s) in collaboration with the school counselor or another professional experienced in this area.
Where does CSD stand on transgender athletes playing sports?
High school-based athletics programs are part of a broad educational curriculum, and their focus should be on enabling participation – not restricting it – for all students. CSD believes that all young people should have the opportunity to play recreational sports and have their dignity and humanity respected; this includes young people who are transgender, gender-fluid, or who embody any other non-cisgender identity. Because gender-expansive young people are often confronted with significant stigmas and challenges, we believe particular harm is inflicted by excluding such students from the significant physical, mental, and social benefits that young people gain by playing recreational sports. Hostile school climates that validate inappropriate understandings of gender have debilitating effects on gender-expansive students’ academic success and mental health and have even led to student self-harm. The impact of such discrimination is unethical and inequitable.
in 2022, the Georgia High School Association, which oversees sports in 465 public and private schools across the state, including CSD, changed its rules for determining the gender of a student-athlete in a way that prevents transgender students from playing on teams that match their gender identities. Under these new rules, a student’s gender will be determined by what is written on his or her birth certificate. The decision provides an outdated definition of gender as strictly a person's biological sex, based on a person's reproductive biology and genetics at birth, instead of acknowledging factors of expression, identity, and non-definitive sexual orientation/gender fluidity that coalesce to provide a more contemporary, appropriate definition of gender. With this decision becoming law, Georgia has cast students with transgender identities down a problematic, slippery slope that leads to marginalization, ostracism, and exile.
Recent research (GLSEN, 2019) indicates that discrimination prevents many transgender students from participating in school sports fully and safely. Fortunately, many school leaders and policy-makers in other states across the US have become increasingly aware of their responsibility to ensure that young transgender athletes have access to athletic teams according to their affirmed gender identity and assure that these students’ lives and well-being are safe in locker rooms and on the playing field.
While City Schools of Decatur must uphold the letter of the GHSA law, we disagree with the decision to institute such ill-informed and discriminatory policy and, instead, affirm that permitting transgender children and gender-expansive youth to participate in recreational sports in a way that affirms their gender identity provides an enormous boost to student self-confidence and self-esteem and provides students with positive experiences that will bolster them in all other areas of their lives.
For More Information
Model Policy for Transgender Students on High School Teams
On The Team: Equal Opportunities for Transgender Student-Athletes
Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Youth in our Nation’s Schools http://glsen.org/sites/default/files/Harsh%20Realities.pdf
GLSEN School Climate Survey, 2019
responses to questions posed by community stakeholders:
FAQs regarding Decaturish letter from Black Parents Alliance
FAQs regarding 7 Demands made by the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights