Conversations About Student Mental Health

Starting the Conversation About Race, Equality and Bias in Schools

January 11, 2021 Christopher J. Leonard, MSW, LCSW, M.ED Season 1 Episode 12
Conversations About Student Mental Health
Starting the Conversation About Race, Equality and Bias in Schools
Chapters
Conversations About Student Mental Health
Starting the Conversation About Race, Equality and Bias in Schools
Jan 11, 2021 Season 1 Episode 12
Christopher J. Leonard, MSW, LCSW, M.ED

Dealing with race, equality, and bias is a problem that continues to confound Americans, in large part because we are not even comfortable talking about it. Yet our children and teens are watching events unfold in the world and they have questions, real questions. As educators, we need to support thoughtful dialogue. So how do we talk to our students and to each other in ways that are constructive and productive?

In this episode, Chris talks with LaCoyya Weathington, Assistant Superintendent for Compliance, Equity and Student Services at the Cherry Hill New Jersey Public School District. LaCoyya's background in education spans 27 years with a focus on improving educational opportunities for students, including serving as Director of Education for the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission. 

Highlights include:

  • Why the events of this past year have been traumatic for students (and not only for students of color)
  • Exploring the notion of “colorblindness” and race as a social construct
  • Recommendations for looking at practices, from curriculum decisions to disciplinary actions to hiring practices, to identify systematic bias
  • Resources to guide us in looking at our own thinking and behavior
  • How to begin an honest dialogue with students and staff of color.

“As an administrator, you can't be the person that's watching on the sidelines and not doing anything. Our role is to set the example for the district. For every person that interacts with us, we're setting an example. So we have to look at our own biases. And we have to be very courageous.”


Show Notes

Dealing with race, equality, and bias is a problem that continues to confound Americans, in large part because we are not even comfortable talking about it. Yet our children and teens are watching events unfold in the world and they have questions, real questions. As educators, we need to support thoughtful dialogue. So how do we talk to our students and to each other in ways that are constructive and productive?

In this episode, Chris talks with LaCoyya Weathington, Assistant Superintendent for Compliance, Equity and Student Services at the Cherry Hill New Jersey Public School District. LaCoyya's background in education spans 27 years with a focus on improving educational opportunities for students, including serving as Director of Education for the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission. 

Highlights include:

  • Why the events of this past year have been traumatic for students (and not only for students of color)
  • Exploring the notion of “colorblindness” and race as a social construct
  • Recommendations for looking at practices, from curriculum decisions to disciplinary actions to hiring practices, to identify systematic bias
  • Resources to guide us in looking at our own thinking and behavior
  • How to begin an honest dialogue with students and staff of color.

“As an administrator, you can't be the person that's watching on the sidelines and not doing anything. Our role is to set the example for the district. For every person that interacts with us, we're setting an example. So we have to look at our own biases. And we have to be very courageous.”