On August 2020, Grand Haven Area Public Schools introduced their “Pledge to Equity”:
The pledge aims to promote racial equity by encouraging collective action to build inclusive communities. This project knowledges the need for cities, countries, school districts and organizational leaders to work on cultivating a trusting environment, where all ideas are welcome, and we are residents and workspaces are empowered to openly talk about racial justice and efforts to dismantle institutional and structural racism.Grand Haven Area Public Schools Pledge for Racial Equity
The pledge also states that “the Grand Haven area public schools will implement and expand implicit bias education: the field of implicit bias reminds us that we all have anger and just biases.” However, many community members believe that instead of eliminating biases, the school swung too far in the other direction and introduced a new version of biased education.
On May 5, 2021, teachers were required to attend a diversity training session (one of a few) titled Brave & Courageous Conversations.
One teacher reported:
“The high school staff also received a copy of a book titled This Book is Anti-Racist, by Tiffany Jewel, which was used to teach a 4 part lesson to the high school students and staff. The ‘Calling All Colors’ group created four different lessons that were presented/taught during the school day to the high school students/staff. Students were encouraged to participate in the journaling activities and then discussion topics as well. Many ideas of critical theory showed up during these lessons; dominant culture (White, Male, Cisgender, Christian, Neurotypical), Systemic Racism, Equity, White people can’t experience racism, etc…”
Grand Haven Area Public Schools has been affiliated with Calling All Colors as early as 2008, and used their curriculum/slide shows (Lessons 1-4) in Grand Haven High School.
On March 8, 2018, 13 On Your Side reported that Grand Haven Area Public Schools “invited speaker Calvin Terrell to address students, staff and community members about bullying, school violence and mean behavior. Terrell is known to sometimes push audiences outside their comfort zones. Students and staff say he was invited to offer new perspectives and discuss ways to reduce violence and promote kindness.” However, Terrell is also known for his controversial social media posts and commentary on his website.
On March 7, 2018, Grand Haven Student Publication, The Blade, covered the question and answer meeting in response to parental concerns about Calvin Terrell. “Within the meeting, Terrell first talked about what he would be presenting to students. This was followed by an opportunity for anyone in the audience to participate in the discussion about his content.” One Mother sought to address Terrell’s views on white privilege and white supremacy. The Blade reports that she “turned towards the administration to ask them if this supremacy was what they perceived the parents and students to be.” Terrell responded:
“Everything is,” Terrell said. “I am speaking the land of the English on native land. That’s white supremacy. Your school is focusing on success for all. If you are really behind success for all, I’m saying the structures we have put in place as a society are not success oriented. We have to evolve as a nation. If we don’t, we’re going to tear each other apart, and part of that is naming the issue and doing the hard work.”Calvin Terrell, Speaker Calvin Terrell discusses concerns about upcoming presentation with parents The Blade