Forsyth County Schools added its collective voice Monday to the discourse about racial inequality following the recent deaths of black Americans by police, saying that “we must do better” and that it’s “committed to creating a culture of belonging where differences, abilities and beliefs are respected and celebrated.”
“The brutal killing of Mr. George Floyd and countless others before him weighs heavily on our hearts and minds,” the school district said in a statement. “Racism has occurred for far too long in our county, state, and nation. Words are not enough; action is critically important.”
Among the actions FCS plans to take is adding the position of a diversity specialist at the district level, according to Jennifer Caracciolo, director of public information and communications. FCS plans to advertise for the position on its website soon, she said.
It’s one of several recommendations FCS received as part of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan. Launched this past January, the plan was developed by a team of school system staff and parents for the last two years. Caracciolo said the plan will take four years to fully implement across the school district.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion have been goals in our last and current strategic plans,” Caracciolo said. “As our district has grown in dimensions of diversity, so has our work in these areas.”
FCS’s student population has become more diverse over the past 10 years. A once all-white school district was 56.9% white by the 2018-19 school year, according to district enrollment records.
That trend is expected to continue as Forsyth County’s population grows. The school district passed the 50,000-student mark this school year and estimates that it will be larger than Atlanta Public Schools in the next two years.
“For our students, staff and their families, we cannot stay quiet,” Caracciolo said. “We acknowledge our potential for growth and look forward to continuing our work to change and strengthening our current and future society.”