Frequently Asked Questions

Who are we?

R.O.A.R. (Residents Organizing Against Racism) is a grassroots group of parents and community members in Eastern Carver County Schools (Independent School District 112 in Chaska, Chanhassen, Carver and Victoria) uniting to combat racism in our schools and hold the school district accountable.

Our group has over 100 people, nearly all of us parents/family members of current students. Most of whom are from the four ISD112 communities and their respective schools.

Why are we needed?

*Racist acts and systemic racism are a serious problem in ISD112. *There have been ongoing well-documented racist events reported to the district for years. But the district has not followed its own equity policies and does not appear to be utilizing its “human rights officer” in effective ways. *District 112 is among the fastest growing and diversifying communities in the metro. *The racial gap on standardized testing is growing, not improving. *Discipline of racial minorities is far higher than for white students. *24% of students in District 112 are racial minorities while only 8% of district staff are racial minorities, and less than 1% of teachers are. There are no African American teachers or administrators. *Minority teacher numbers lag far behind Minnesota districts with similar racial demographics What is more, district retention of minority staff is much lower than those same districts. *One-third of minority staff have left the district in the past two years. *Several families have removed their children from the district explicitly due to issues around racism. Others are considering it. *Alumni of all races are reporting they are embarrassed to tell people they graduated from ISD112 due to national coverage of these ongoing problems.

How can you prove ISD112 is treating students differently?

refer to DATA tab

Are you saying you want to fire teachers?

Not at all! We LOVE teachers and believe that the majority in the district are not the cause of the problems. Our concern is that the culture created, modeled and mediated by their bosses is not supportive of racial equity, which, in turn makes it hard for them to engage in teaching and leading their classes in inclusive and equitable ways. Even though they risk ostracization or worse, many do try. We’re grateful for them! We hope the district mandates equity training for ALL staff in the future so teachers are better equipped to serve their diverse student body.

Why don't we work with the district?

Our group of parents has been and will continue to work with the district. We have attended district-hosted equity discussions and met one-on-one with district officials in an endless effort to resolve our issues without resorting to creating a movement. Finally enough became enough and we realized that the only way to truly help our district resolve these vast issues was by banding together to become a better partner. We knew in banding together we would be a better partner to the district in seeing these vast issues be resolved. Many ROAR members were also selected to be on the distric's Equity Advisory Committee.

I thought the district was working on equity solutions?

That’s what we thought too. For a long time we worked with them believing they were but it became painfully clear, that, while they said all the right things, they weren’t doing them or if they did something it was in isolation and not sustained. Meanwhile, the problems were getting worse not better. Hopefully the equity audit done by outside professional Dr. Khalifa will shed light on where the school needs the most improvement as well as outlined solutions. Mandatory implicit bias training for all staff will be a good first step and will better equip them for dealing with racial incidents.

I thought district surveys show overwhelming satisfaction?

Yes, it does say that. However, those surveys are a poor measurement of how they are doing in terms of racial equity and racist incidents because they don’t collect demographic data (race,income) and only report cumulative responses. The district benefits from the fact that it has more racial majority than racial minority students. Black and brown student’s experiences are effectively buried. Furthermore, the district administers the survey itself rather than using an objective outside research firm as many others do. The district can easily trace by email how individual students and parents are responding. Many won’t respond at all for widespread fear of repercussions. The district has also experienced much higher numbers of students leaving the district than neighboring and comparative districts. Per 2016-2017 data, district 112 is losing a large number of students to Minnetonka (726) and Eden Prairie (141) which equates to an estimated net loss of $4.4 million (based on $6067/student) each year.

Aren't these problems isolated?

Unfortunately, no. We’re learning that there have been six serious incidents in the past seven months and they seem to be accelerating. While most are happening at middle and high schools, some are also happening at elementary schools. The collective effect indicates to us that this is a cultural problem within the district, and, while we don’t think all racial majority students are being cruel, we also don’t think that it is just a few bad apples acting racist. Racism is a social contagion that relies on peer pressure and thrives on the silencing of minority voices. This might explain why black and brown students whose primary social group is made up of white students seem to be bearing the most of racist targeting.

Kids are resilient and will get over this quickly, right?

Repeated harm and negligence to students and parents trust and mental health are well documented with very little support offered. Racist events are often if not always traumatizing to victims — and can even retraumatize other black and brown people vicariously. This is why ROAR has requested trauma care in ALL schools and is something the district is working on implementing.

Doesn't the district have a policy against racism?

Yes, they do. However, the district groups their racism policy with their bullying policy. While there are elements and behaviors that overlap between them, there are big and serious differences between racism and bullying. Bullying is an attack on an individual without prejudice against their cultural norms, while acts of racism attack the individual and the entire race and community the individual represents.

In fact, most districts have separate anti-racism policies for this reason. District 112 on the other hand, does not currently have a protocol that insures staff are consistent and held accountable for the handling and follow-up of racist incidents. While ROAR no longer believes zero-tolerance is an appropriate solution, stronger protocols and policies are needed to insure the victims are protected and supported with the best possible outcomes.

What is the difference between racism and bullying?

While there are elements and behaviors that overlap between them, there are big and serious differences between the two. Bullying is an attack on an individual without prejudice against their cultural norms, while acts of racism attack the individual and the entire race and community the individual represents. In fact, most districts have separate anti-racism policies for this reason.

Doesn't the school already have an Equity and Inclusion plan?

It’s true they do have an Equity and Inclusion plan like other schools identified as racially isolated, however, the goals and metrics on it are exceedingly vague and minimal. Furthermore there have been obvious violations of their own Equity plan. O example of this being the school has not listed in an accessible way that Amy Ladue is the acting “human rights officer”. Students and parents involved in these incidents have not been aware the school even has a human rights officer.

Didn't the CHS principal state he planned to use these as "teachable" moments?

Yes the CHS principal did say that but like many things in this district related to racism, students and parents report that he never actually turned it into any teachable moments. District leadership hasn’t disagreed with our assessment on this. The first time CHS principal addressed the issues he refused to highlight racism as a cause. The second attempt he made was through a rally where he read from prepared notes for five minutes proclaiming his love for all students but never direcetly addressing the problem. As one (white student) said: “I wanted to hear more about the problems and their effects. It was like he was in a hostage video.”

Why would we risk less qualified staff just to reach minority quotas?

Statements like this imply these candidates will be less qualified just because they are minority. As one White educator said: “What if all these years we have already been hiring less qualified teachers just because they are white?” In fact, research has found that students of all races have favorable ratings of their racial minority teachers. And they’re out there! The growth in the number of minority teachers is actually outpacing the growth of minority students.

CHS has great graduation rates, I don't see the issue?

While this type of progress is always good to hear, it can be very misleading because it belies the reality of what’s behind it. In fact, if you look at academic proficiencies ISD112 its concerning because proficiencies rates are much lower than graduation rates which can imply that the district is graduating students unprepared for the rigors of college and work. In the past three years academic proficiency has actually gone down for all students as a whole in both Math and Reading. In particular Black and Latino students have seen significant drops and ever widening gaps between their test scores and those of white and asian students’. That’s the wrong direction and shows that this isn’t about differences in racial learning abilities but rather district pedagogies that are preferential to racial majority students.

Isn't only a small group of young people making these poor decisions?

No, the issue is larger than just a small group of young people. Not only do these acts of racism committed by young people need to be addressed, but the lack of a policy to effectively resolve these types of issues without doing additional harm to minority parents and students is required.