MN State High School League launches initiative

The Minnesota State High School League and other organizations are launching an initiative in light of recent events. In a statement released today:

Recently students, schools and communities have experienced racist events that tell us we as school leaders have more work to do. Mistreatment of anyone on any basis is not only intolerable, it is something we, as educational leaders, unequivocally condemn. Racial, religious, or sexual harassment is simply unacceptable in our schools. The goal of safe, supportive school environments is of paramount importance. It is essential that every effort be made, and action is taken to ensure that all students have a safe environment in which to learn and participate in activities. In addition, victims of racist words or actions need support. Together, we commit to making every effort to ensure that students have a safe environment in which to learn and participate in activities.

To that end, the education organizations listed below will launch an initiative to improve behavior at high school events as well as schools in general. With the assistance of professional partners, this initiative will include:

Organize student groups to develop a model code of conduct for all schools. Once developed, this code will be distributed to school boards, administrators, coaches, parents, and students statewide. The code will cover all aspects of participation in activities as well as at school. It will include activities, athletes, spectators, staff, students, and parents.

Convene a student conference, through the MSHSL, MASSP and MNIAA, involving student leaders involved in athletics, fine arts and other activities to raise awareness about student conduct, bullying, gender, race and other issues and assist in the development of tools for all schools.

Identify and provide resources to assist schools and administrators in planning, preparing and implementing best practices to address and eliminate these harmful behaviors and support of students and others who have been impacted.

Schools will continue to promote and enforce existing conduct rules through district policies prohibiting racial harassment of any kind and through Bylaw 209 of MSHSL Rules that expressly prohibits racial, sexual, or religious harassment. Violations of the policy require the loss of student eligibility.

The organizations listed will continue to work directly with our schools in addressing these behaviors and will keep schools and interested parties informed of progress in these efforts. Together we will make a difference.

Minnesota State High School League, Erich Martens, Executive Director; Minnesota School Boards Association, Kirk Schneidawind, Executive Director; Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals, Bob Driver, Executive Director; Minnesota Interscholastic Activities Administrator Association, Mike Beck, Executive Director; Association of Metropolitan School Districts, Scott Croonquist, Executive Director; Minnesota Association of School Administrators, Deb Henton, Executive Director; Minnesota Rural Education Association, Bob Indihar, Executive Director; Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association, Jon Millerhagen, Executive Director.

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