Frequently Asked Questions
CSD's 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
Below are answers to common questions asked about Equity at CSD:
How can I get in touch with the equity department?
Our District Equity Coordinator is Dr. Mari Ann Banks. Her office is located on the second floor of the Wilson School Support Center @ 125 Electric Avenue Decatur, GA 30030.
Office # 404/ 371 . 3601 Cell # 404/ 977 . 1684
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 marginalized students. However,
It's Not an Achievement or Discipline Gap - It's an Education Debt!
Wondering why CSD always talks about the education debt that we owe to our marginalized students? The philosophy comes from Gloria Ladson Billings - a simply phenomenal scholar who first coined the phrase. Learn more about the incorrect way we have defined the insistent achievement and discipline separations between the races of students in our classrooms.
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. After doing so, or if you are uncomfortable contacting your adminstrator, and you need more help:
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?
I think a curricular material is racist (ableist, sexist, etc.) or I have questions about the standards. To whom should I express my concern? 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.
CSD employees often say, "We shouldn't just be against racism - we should be anti-racist". What does that statement mean?
Defeating racism calls for more than just "disagreeing with" or "disliking it" — we've got to continually work towards equality for all races and strive to undo racism in our minds, our personal environments, and the world.
In other words, we've got to do the active work of being anti-racist.
How many BIPOC students, teachers, and/or administrators are in the district?
You can find this type of information on our Equity Dashboard page.
My Child is (I am) considering a gender transition. What should we (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. We believe that all young people should have their dignity and humanity respected; this includes young people who are transgender, gender-fluid, or who embody any other non-cisgender identity.
If a student is considering a change in gender identification, CSD has established a process that we believe provides the opportunity to make the transition safe, respectful, and equitable for all involved. If considering a transition, please contact your school's counselor. The procedure moving forward from that point will be determined jointly by the child and/or guardian(s) in collaboration with the school counselor or another professional experienced in this area.
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 reason this present policy exists is largely due to CSD's desire to protect students and keep them mentally and physically safe.
If a student wishes to begin an in-school transition process, they should communicate that information to their school counselor who will assist them in moving forward.
Where does CSD stand on Transgender athletes and HB 276?
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 such significant stigmas and challenges, we believe particular harm may be inflicted by excluding such students from the significant physical, mental, and social benefits that young people gain by playing recreational sports. The impact of such discrimination would be unethical, unequitable, and could cause lifelong psychological harm.
HB 276 purports that it should be unlawful for public or private schools whose students compete against a public school to operate athletic programs that permit a person whose gender is male to participate in an athletic program designated for females. If this bill were to become law, Georgia would be casting students with transgender identities down a problematic, slippery slope that leads to marginalization, ostracism, and exile. The bill is inappropriate at its root; because it 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.
HB 276 is also inappropriate considering its inevitable outcomes. Recent research (GLSEN, 2019) indicates that discrimination already prevents many transgender students from participating in school sports fully and safely. According to this research, school officials often see transgender students’ interest in participating in sports according to their affirmed gender identity as disruptive and engage in inappropriate practices, such as requiring them to use locker rooms and bathrooms that correspond to their gender assigned at birth. This can result in a hostile, even dangerous school climate and discourage student participation in sports. Further, such behavior normalizes anti-trans sentiment by institutionalizing discrimination against trans youth as well as by validating problematic narratives about what it means to be trans. For example, the notion that some “boys might claim to be girls” in order to gain an advantage in girls’ sports competitions or access girls’ locker rooms as sexual predators reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to identify as trans and engage in gender transition. 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.
Fortunately, school leaders and policy-makers across the US are becoming increasingly aware of their responsibilities 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. The City Schools of Decatur Board of Education opposes HB 276 and, instead, affirms that permitting transgender children and 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. http://www.nclrights.org/legal-help-resources/resource/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