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School board approves resolution in support of Asian and Pacific Islander communities

On March 23, the ISD 279 School Board approved a resolution condemning xenophobic, racist, and all anti-Asian attacks elevated by COVID-19.

In full, the resolution reads as follows:

Resolution Condemning Xenophobic, Racist, and All Anti-Asian Attacks Elevated by COVID-19

WHEREAS, COVID-19 is fueling bias, fear, hostility, hate and racism against our Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities; and

WHEREAS, Osseo Area Schools is the district home to approximately 3,956 students

of Asian descent, accounting for over 19% of the student body, many from refugee and immigrant communities including but not limited to Hmong, Karen, Burmese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Karenni and multi-racial; and

WHEREAS, Osseo Area Schools believes that students deserve respectful learning environments in which their racial and ethnic diversity is valued and celebrated; and

WHEREAS, Osseo Area Schools is committed to inspiring and preparing all students with the confidence, courage and competence to achieve their dreams; contribute to community; and engage in a lifetime of learning - therefore standing against hate and bigotry toward all our students, staff, families and community; and

WHEREAS, Osseo Area Schools is the employer of 162 staff members who identify as API, comprising 3.95% of all staff; and

WHEREAS, API students, staff, families, and community are valued members of a thriving diverse Osseo Area Schools family that spans languages, nationalities, ethnicities, cultures and more; and

WHEREAS, throughout history pandemics and other events have bred misinformation, hysteria, stigma, scapegoating and racial and ethnic discrimination; and

WHEREAS, Osseo Area Schools recognizes and acknowledges that our API community has historically experienced discrimination, xenophobia and racism resulting in historical trauma, feelings of invisibility, and negative effects on their overall health and well-being; and

WHEREAS, in the wake of COVID-19 anti-Asian stigma has galvanized white nationalism and supremacy culture that promotes and breeds discord; and

WHEREAS, communities of API descent have experienced a surge of racial shunning, harassment, discrimination, and violent attacks as a result of the COVID- 19 pandemic; and

WHEREAS, there is an increase of racist rhetoric and terminology identifying COVID-19 using language that is marginalizing and debilitating to the humanity of our API students, staff, families and community; and

WHEREAS, as communities adapt and respond to COVID-19, API Minnesotans also report that their safety and equal access to goods and services is compromised because of increasing harassment, xenophobic and racist behaviors; and

WHEREAS, Osseo Area Schools maintains and enforces racial equity, gender inclusion, equal opportunity/non-discrimination, anti-bullying, anti-harassment, anti-violence, behavior standards, and anti-retaliation policies; and

WHEREAS, Osseo Area Schools provides educators with the expectations, resources, and support to provide instruction to students in digital citizenship, bullying prevention and specific lessons on coronavirus stereotypes, fears and racism.

SO, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Osseo Area Schools hereby reaffirms all policies, practices and procedures to hold ourselves accountable to ensure that our API students, staff, families and community are not subjected to bias, harassment, discrimination, violence or retaliation; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that Osseo Area Schools will provide accurate, effective and unbiased messaging related to the COVID-19 virus; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that Osseo Area Schools condemns any anti-Asian sentiments targeting our API students, staff, families and community; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that Osseo Area Schools commits to partnering with public and private institutions/organizations working to address xenophobia and racism directed toward Asian and Pacific Islanders in Minnesota; and

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED the School Board of Osseo Area Schools urges local, state, and federal authorities to take immediate action to ensure the safety of these communities against racism and xenophobia.