Wolf Administration Releases Equity and Inclusion Toolkit for Schools
April 06, 2017
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the Department of Education (PDE) has released a new resource to help Pennsylvania schools prevent and respond to racially charged and bias-related incidents in their communities.
“To perform their best, students must feel safe in school,” Governor Wolf said. “A healthy and safe environment can help our students thrive, and every student regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression should be provided the opportunity to learn free from discrimination, fear, or harassment. My administration is dedicated to improving education in Pennsylvania and we’ll continue working to ensure every student has the opportunity to excel.”
The newly-released Equity and Inclusion Toolkit is one of a series of resources PDE began providing to the commonwealth’s schools following high-visibility incidents in several schools after November’s election. When those incidents occurred, the Administration acted quickly to condemn them as acts of bigotry and intolerance, and released a 60-second PSA to share a message of diversity and inclusion.
“The toolkit released today will advance existing efforts at the state and local levels to create and maintain supportive settings that celebrate diversity and teach students the importance of respect for self and others,” Education Secretary Pedro Rivera said. “This resource was developed in collaboration with other state agencies, organizations, and partners, and focuses on strategies and actions that schools can take to address bias and discrimination in a proactive and effective manner.”
PDE’s Office of Safe Schools has partnered with agencies like the Human Relations Commission (PHRC), the Center for Schools and Communities, intermediate units, and others to bolster efforts to ensure schools have resources to foster a positive culture and climate, and to respond to incidents of hate.
Safe Schools established a hotline for districts to report bias-related incidents to streamline the collection of information about an incident and connect a district with services and supports more quickly. PDE also provided resources, including a crisis plan template and curriculum guides, available online to educators.
Safe Schools also provides resources on issues from combating dating violence to preventing suicide, and in 2016 introduced a toll-free bullying prevention consultation line (1-866-716-0424), which is available to students, parents/guardians, and educators.