Madam Chair, and Board members, I have now come before this Board for
over four (4) years, each time seeking to discuss with you the issue of staff
diversity and its impact on the education of all BCSD students, and
additionally, to engage you in finding a way for us to resolve what is an
obvious lack of staff diversity in the Beacon City School District (BCSD).
It was in 2011 I first came before this BOE citing data from your own
website indicating that only five (5) of two hundred sixty-six (266)
instructional and administrative staff were minorities, in a school system
where over fifty percent (50%) of student enrollment is minorities.
Since that time I have continuously appeared before you, sometimes
unprofessionally or raucously, for which I now apologize, but always
seriously willing to talk with and assist in whatever way I could to address
this situation publicly acknowledged by this Board as a serious issue.
I have done so because I realize that students in the BCSD can go from
kindergarten through high school having less than a five percent (5%)
chance of seeing a minority instructor. The significance and impact of this
to all students, but particularly to minorities, can be life-changing!!
Students of all races and ages must be aware of diversity in a country,
state and community that is as diverse, and ever-growing as ours. So, I am
compelled to ask you, “How can students in BCSD learn or experience
diversity in a school district with so few minority instructors?”
The other justification for my continued pursuit of greater diversity is a
1999-2000 PEW Foundation survey, conducted in conjunction with
Northeastern University. In 2001 they released the results of their survey
of one hundred twenty-three (123) public schools where minority staffing
was within five percent (5%) of the minority enrollment. The most
significant findings were: 1) in those schools minorities had higher than
average grade performance; 2) there were less behavioral incidents and
dismissals of minorities than in other area schools; 3) they found higher
than average attendance rates; and, 4) there were less drop-outs. Equally
as important, they found that there was no measurable decline in the
performance of non-minority students. This data portends that any school
or school system can reap significant educational benefits from diversity. I
hasten to add that the exact number of minority administrators and
instructors in BCS is unknown because you, the BOE, have consistently
refused to share data with the public or discuss the issue.
I am certain that many of you like me, have watched and heard the
nationwide protestations of citizens of every race, age and religion, all
proclaiming the need for changes to ensure social and legal justice for all
In Beacon, the Board of Education might be the best and only institution to
discuss and examine such a major issue. However, it is my concern that
this Board has appeared to be reluctant or has been considerably
delinquent in discussing this issue in a transparent or public way.
As the leaders and policy makers for an education system, you are looked
upon by many as responsible for enlightened leadership on this issue and
many others. I am also aware of the difficulties faced by you and many
other institutions in addressing these issues.
However, Madam Chair, I hasten to remind you that in 2011 when I
presented that startling data, it was you who said, “Yes, we have been very
negligent in addressing this issue”.
So, I conclude by asking you, Madame Chair, “What have you and the
board done to address this issue. What has been done to provide the
leadership this school system and community needs to address the vital
issue of diversity and develop a serious, transparent and actionable plan to
address this serious moral issue of educational and social justice.”
If not, then all I ask is that you please convey to me, and the rest of this
community, what has been accomplished to address this issue and if
nothing, then the rationale for not having accomplished anything in regard
to diversity.I ask that my remarks please be included in the minutes of this
meeting. Thank you.
James “Frank” Bugg