Kansas school district hits the 'pause button' on microaggression policy

Lawrence Free State High School in Kansas.

Lawrence Free State High School in Kansas.  (Google Street View)

Kansas school kids can breathe a sigh of relief — they won’t have to worry about being expelled over any microaggressions. For now, anyway.

After repeatedly delaying a vote on a proposal to broaden its anti-discrimination and harassment policy to include so-called microaggressions, the Board of Education of Lawrence Public Schools has opted to “hit the pause button,” the district’s new superintendent has told local media.

After drawing national criticism, the school district has decided that it will solicit additional feedback before making any changes to its policy.

“We are seeking additional input from teachers and staff regarding the total package of changes to our nondiscrimination policies that have been proposed,” says Shannon Kimball, a member of the policy advisory committee behind the proposal.

She added, “Once we have received staff and teacher input, our policy committee will review the feedback and then make a determination as to what form the amendments may take to forward for discussion to by the board.”

As Heat Street first reported last month, Lawrence Public Schools was weighing a proposal that would have made it among the first K-12 districts in the nation to expand its discrimination and harassment policy to include both microaggressions and “offensive symbols.”

The school board had defined microaggressions as “subtle but offensive comments or actions directed at a minority or other non dominant group that are often unintentional or unconsciously reinforce a stereotype.”

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