Home News Local News Sidney Gutierrez council postpones decision on new policy

Sidney Gutierrez council postpones decision on new policy

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The Sidney Gutierrez Middle School Governing Council decided Monday night to table action regarding a state-required anti-racism policy.

The policy is being developed by the city’s only charter school as a supplement to existing school policies regarding faculty and staff training and student conduct.

The action is prompted by a new state law, effective after state House Bill 43, the Black Education Act, was signed in April 2021.

Meeting at the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art on Monday, four members of the council, which governs a middle school and elementary school, voted unanimously to table the discussion until they had more time to consider the policy.

The group is scheduled to meet again on Feb. 7, when it could vote on the policy because it already conducted the first of the required two readings on Dec. 13.

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The Black Education Act has several different components, including creating a Black Education Advisory Council as part of the New Mexico Public Education Department and asking state officials to work to increase the number of Black teachers in New Mexico schools.

The PED formed the advisory council in October and has established a required racism incident reporting line. People can call Devon Williams at 505-226-3911 or email hotline.bea@gmail.com, according to PED Deputy Communications Manager Judy Robinson.

The new law also requires the state’s public K-12 schools to train teachers and staff on ways to abate cultural, ethnic and racial bias and to counsel or discipline students when bullying, violence, property destruction or other wrong conduct is motivated by racism or other types of bias.

Sidney Gutierrez Principal Joe Andreis said that all school employees have been provided the necessary training and that the new policy covering training and anti-racism policies and discipline has been submitted to the Public Education Department and school lawyers for review.

Andreis also said that the schools already have existing policies that cover obscenity, profanity, vulgarity, violence, bullying and property damage. The new policy will supplement those.

According to the PED, the state’s 89 school districts and 98 charter schools were due to submit their anti-racism plans by the end of November.

In New Mexico, charter schools can be authorized by the state or local school districts. Sidney Gutierrez’s charter is authorized by the Roswell Independent School District.

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