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Vigo County School Corp. implementing "diversity task force" into its schools

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VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The Vigo County School Corporation is tackling the issue of racism.

Community members filled the chairs and lined the walls at Monday's Vigo County School Board meeting. They carefully listened to a statement given by Interim Superintendent, Dr. Tom Balitewicz.

He explained that a diversity task force would soon be coming to Vigo schools.

It is in response to the recent racial harassment that took place at West Vigo High School.

"This plan is for the entire school corporation, not just West Vigo High School," Dr. Balitewicz said.

The task force is made up of several individuals who will help guide the school corporation with issues revolving around diversity and equity.

Dr. Balitewicz has begun the process of inviting people to the group. President of the Terre Haute NAACP -- Sylvester Edwards -- is one of them.

He says there are still loose ends that need to be tied up before the task force can fully launch.

"It would not be finished until all of the adults who were complicit...who allowed it to happen, who saw it was going on and did nothing about it. Until that is over, we have to go ahead and make sure that the healing process is in place," Edwards said.

Here are a few of the things Dr. Balitewicz says the task force would handle:

  • ¬†building a strategic diversity and inclusion plan
  • training on stereotyping awareness
  • presenting on bullying, harassment, and hazing,
  • and how the school staff addresses these issues.

Edwards has been deemed the idea guy.

He suggests pairing athletes with students who are getting bullied.

"Once the respect is there from the athlete taking care of and protecting -- I think things will start changing," Edwards said.

In terms of athletics, Dr. Balitewicz says he will be meeting with all high school and middle school coaches in March -- to stress the importance of reporting harassment.

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