McKinleyville High School Acknowledges Racism, Vows to Make Changes

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In a letter sent to the McKinleyville High School community, Principal Nic Collart and the school’s administration acknowledged the racism students of color faced and vowed to make the school a more inclusive and safe space for them.

The letter comes from the school’s Race and Equity Committee, which was formed after an Aug. 18 Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) listening session organized by current and former BIPOC students and their families and facilitated by the Eureka NAACP. The committee includes students, staff and community members who are “committed to making changes in the areas identified through the listening session.”

“Our school mission states, ‘McKinleyville High School fosters an inclusive community where all individuals can excel both personally and academically by empowering learners with meaningful skills in a safe and supportive environment.’ We have not upheld this promise for all of our students,” Collart wrote in the letter. “While we cannot change the past, we are dedicated to creating a school that honors and supports all our students from this day forward. We acknowledge harm in the hopes it will help our community heal.”


In the letter, Collart, who’s white and graduated from McKinleyville High School, acknowledges that his experiences at the school were much different than current and former BIPOC students.

“[Current and former BIPOC students] sharing (at the Aug. 18 listening session) has both saddened and had a profound impact on me as both a member of our community as well as in my role as Principal, for it is clear, from these listening sessions, that our school has not always provided a safe, nurturing and empowering environment for our BIPOC students, and this must change,” he wrote.

The school acknowledges its responsibility to make changes and will implement staff training, curriculum and the development of policies and procedures in partnership with BIPOC community members.

“All of us want a school where our students have agency, feel connected and honored for who they are, and have all the opportunities and support to prepare them for all that comes after. McKinleyville High was that school for me, and I want to make sure it is that school for everyone. I look forward to making that happen,” Collart wrote.

Read the full letter below. 

Dear McKinleyville Community

I have always been proud of both graduating from and serving as Principal at McKinleyville High School. My experience has been overwhelmingly positive in both roles. This fall I was honored and entrusted to listen to the stories and experiences of current and former BIPOC students as well their families during their time at McKinleyville High School. Their sharing has both saddened and had a profound impact on me as both a member of our community as well as in my role as Principal, for it is clear, from these listening sessions, that our school has not always provided a safe, nurturing and empowering environment for our BIPOC students, and this must change.

Our school mission states, “McKinleyville High School fosters an inclusive community where all individuals can excel both personally and academically by empowering learners with meaningful skills in a safe and supportive environment.” We have not upheld this promise for all of our students. While we cannot change the past, we are dedicated to creating a school that honors and supports all our students from this day forward. We acknowledge harm in the hopes it will help our community heal.

We understand that racism and its impact on our systems and institutions is not an issue specific to MHS, but we recognize our role in it and our responsibility to make change. In order to do this, we are working on staff training, curriculum and the development of policies and procedures in partnership with our BIPOC community to meet the mission of our school for the success of all of our students. All of us want a school where our students have agency, feel connected and honored for who they are, and have all the opportunities and support to prepare them for all that comes after. McKinleyville High was that school for me, and I want to make sure it is that school for everyone. I look forward to making that happen.

If you have any questions about this work or would like to be involved, please feel free to contact me at 707 839-6405 or at ncollart@nohum.k12.ca.us

Sincerely,

Nic Collart

Principal

McKinleyville High School

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