Osseo School Board Approves Resolution Supporting People of Color
Any significant change requires action, and outside the headquarters of the Osseo Area Schools Tuesday night, a group gathered to send a message to the school board to address racial disparities in District 279.
“I don’t understand why in the year of 2020, we’re still fighting systemic and institutionalized racism,” said Miamon Queeglay, a district parent.
“As a teacher, we need to make sure that all students have the same opportunities,” said Renee Sagmoe, a substitute teacher in District 279. “We need to close that opportunity gap.”
Queeglay and Sagmoe are part of a group called Anti-Racists for a Better District 279. The group held a really just before the start of Tuesday’s school board meeting.
“We all are in this body of education, and it takes every part to work together, and if half of the house is divided, the house is going to fall,” said Demetria Poe, a kindergarten teacher at Birch Grove Elementary.
Poe was one of several dozen who came out Tuesday night to encourage the school board to approve a resolution that not only honors the life of George Floyd, but lays out a series of 15 proposals aimed at supporting students and staff members of color in the district.
“I feel as though all the proposals are pushing, asking, demanding and expecting action,” Poe said.
‘Do what’s best for our students’
During Tuesday’s school board meeting, which they held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the board members discussed whether to adopt that resolution.
“I know we have an opportunity as an Osseo School District to be leaders, to address racial disparities head-on in our district,” said Kelsey Dawson Walton, a school board member who helped write the resolution.
The discussion on the proposals lasted nearly 30 minutes.
“I’m asking that we all agree to do what’s best for our students — to do what’s best for our Black students, our indigenous students, our students of color, and our white students,” said Jackie Mosqueda-Jones, another school board member.
While the board agreed with many of the ideas that were laid out, the board chair had concerns about the implementation of the proposals.
“I still firmly believe that we need to do this in a manner that not only provides the ideas, but also provides for the funding and the other resources to properly implement them,” said Board Chair Mike Ostaffe.
Ultimately, the school board voted 3-1 to approve the resolution. The next step is to figure out how to put the proposals into practice.