Staunton school board approves new diversity plan

Published: Oct. 9, 2017 at 11:44 PM EDT
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Diversity was the big topic at Monday night's Staunton school board meeting and so was


Staunton Schools Superintendent Dr. Garett Smith presented the new Diversity and Inclusivity Plan, which was passed by the board.

The plan is a two-phase process partnered with Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities.

The plan will give diversity training to all Staunton school employees, while engaging with students and the community.

"It'll give a chance for every voice to be heard. Everyone who wants to speak about the issues," Dr. Smith said. "Whether the broader issues of diversity and inclusivity or whether they want to get into the more specific issues like we heard tonight about the high school name."

Phase 2 of the plan will involve conversations with focus groups as well as listening sessions with the local community.

While many were happy about the new plan, the conversation on


"A lot of people said that they felt really uncomfortable about calling it Lee and I agree with that, I feel uncomfortable about telling people that I go to a school with that name," said R.E. Lee freshman, Cece Bernard.

No decisions were made on Monday about the name change. It's a conversation that will continue.

As for the diversity plan, Dr. Smith said they hope to have a strategic plan in place by next fall, and that training has already begun.