PENNSBURY >> In the wake of the killing of George Floyd and nationwide protests for racial justice, the Pennsbury School Board has directed its administration to develop plans to make equity a key area of focus throughout the educational system.

“This plan will include a dedicated position to provide leadership and oversight in equity and excellence,” writes School Board President TR Kannan in a June 25 letter to the community. “We look forward to reviewing the proposal and act over the next few weeks.”

The plan, according to Kannan, will build upon several behind-the-scenes efforts that are already underway at Pennsbury in the areas of curriculum, recruiting and professional development.

“Our mission is to provide the best education, the best opportunities and the best school environment for our student body of approximately 10,000 students. I hope you join me in feeling encouraged and proud of these focused efforts,” he wrote.

In his letter, Kannan talks about the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25 at the hands of police, the protests that followed and then shares his own experiences as a minority in America.

“While certainly not an isolated occurrence, this incident suddenly brought a laser focus to the systemic discrimination, prejudice and racial injustice that is prevalent in our nation,” he wrote about the Floyd killing.

After having been born and raised in India where discrimination based on religion, caste, and gender was widely prevalent, Kannan said he migrated to the United States over 20 years ago with hope and optimism about his new country.

“Since then, sadly, I have witnessed and experienced a series of microaggressions that occur in our community,” he writes. “Most minorities stay silent and accept this as a way of life. Sometimes the person on the other side is not even aware of exhibiting unconscious biases, let alone realizing how this makes others feel.”

But Kannan adds, “The attention that racial injustice has garnered in recent weeks has given me renewed hope.

"I am happy to see the peaceful protests in our community, many times led by young people, and a series of actions taken by organizations, cities, states, and the federal government.

“Our district,” he writes, “is well positioned to address equity issues related not just to race, but also to socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, family background, disability and religious beliefs.”

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