Olentangy School District publishes “Equity and Inclusion Action Plan” that includes racial grouping, and mandatory training in implicit bias and microaggressions


Olentangy School District, located in Lewis Center, OH, has published its Equity and Inclusion Action Plan which was developed following a series of town halls discussing ” the district’s anti-racism efforts moving forward.” The plan is meant “to guide the diversity, equity, and inclusion work of the district over the next three to five years,” according to Assistant Director of Equity and Inclusion Jackie Merkle.

Goals of the plan include:

  • “Add language into the student handbook and staff handbook that explicitly lays out restorative education sessions as a part of the disciplinary process for students and staff disciplined for diversity related incidents. Bring awareness to the community of what restorative practices are and how they are being implemented.”
  • “Ensure all staff and administrators involved in the hiring process receive research-based implicit bias training.”
  • “Assist in mobilizing and supporting affinity group spaces for staff and long term substitutes such as: Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA+, and other underrepresented identities.”
  • “Ensure a member of the Equity & Inclusion team is included in the hiring process, and that diversity is present on interview panels involving community and staff, when hiring building principals.”
  • “Include a diversity, equity, and inclusion question to be used on the required universal screener and subsequent questions throughout the interview process to ensure all hires possess behaviors and mindsets that are inclusive. “
  • “Implement mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion professional development training for all staff on an annual basis.”
  • “Research, develop and offer new elective courses in ELA, Social Studies, and/or the Arts related to diversity and global/cultural awareness.”
  • “Coordinate with community partners to support the development of a scholarship for current students committed to advancing the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

All district staff — certified, classified and administrative — will receive training on topics such as implicit bias, microaggressions, explicit racism, racism, and systemic and individual racism, among other topics. As for the students and the curriculum, “entry points for diversity in the curriculum will be identified, as will the points of history and representation that are missing from the curriculum, the areas where more integration can be had, and the resources that can be utilized to facilitate that integration.”

Olentangy parents have started a petition in opposition to changes they have observed in their school system. Here is what they are asking for:

Parents have also expressed concerns over these tweets by Ohio State professor Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries who was tapped to lead the first equity and inclusion workshop September 20, 2018 entitled, ““Discussing Race and Racism with Children.”

There is a petition


Olentangy Local’s first equity workshop zooms in on race, racism