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Bozeman School Board unanimously votes in favor of revised equity policy

Posted at 8:15 AM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 12:42:27-05

BOZEMAN — It wasn’t the longest Bozeman School Board meeting on Monday, but it may have been the most unusual.

“We do not tolerate this. The use of racial slurs or any of the behavior that just happened,” said Board Chair Sandra Wilson.

It was asked if there was public comment after several students were recognized for their athletic achievements. But no one was expecting a hacker to take over the Zoom call and begin shouting profanities and racial slurs.

With a shocked look on several trustee faces, the hacker was swiftly taken off the call, but then it happened again.

It’s unclear who is responsible but the district was clear on this:

“We will be utilizing our resources with the school resource officer associated with the Bozeman Police Department to investigate fully. Again, I’m apologizing on behalf of the district that that was interrupted by hate,” said Interim Superintendent Casey Bertram.

And it made the mood heavy going into the vote on Policy 3610, Programs for At-Risk/Disadvantaged Students

“Here we have an equity policy without the word equity in it, and that troubles me,” trustee Douglas Fischer said.

“I really believe this policy, how it’s been crafted is very synced and very clear without using extraneous words that have become divisive,” replied trustee Lisa Weaver.

The original policy included language which some did not agree with.

“Our children have nothing to gain by being classified as either oppressor or victim as would have been the case in the previous version,” said a parent during public comment.

Leading the district to revise the policy and take out words like equity, which others did not agree with either.

“For those that benefit from equity, the very population you’re trying to reach, serve, and honor—the omission of the word is yet another reminder of systemic exclusion this policy promises to address.”

The vote was for the current, revised policy; the board voted unanimously, 8-0, in favor.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 10.