By Swantella Nelson
IPS can do better than what they’ve been doing for Black and Brown kids and Venita Moore will be the one to make the positive changes we need if she’s elected.
At a board meeting on Aug. 27, it was stated that more pre-K and kindergarten students were suspended in IPS last year than high school seniors. Nearly 100 of the district’s youngest students were suspended, mostly Black boys, and to me it’s unacceptable. As someone with a Black daughter in IPS and a Black son who will attend IPS in just a few years, I really worry about discipline policies and want to see them changed before my son ever steps foot in a school. Venita also thinks the current suspension and expulsion data is unacceptable. If she’s elected, I know she will take a stand to change the current discipline policies. She believes IPS kids need to be in the classroom and every person on IPS’s payroll needs to have racial equity training. A lot of Black and Brown children have experienced trauma, especially lately, and I agree that IPS needs to figure out how to help kids who are suffering before just kicking them out of a classroom.
What I liked most about Venita was her plan to address systemic racism. Beyond thoroughly addressing plans for suspensions and expulsions, on her survey she mentioned wanting to have “know your rights camps” for the students. She also wants to make sure IPS officers and security get racial equity training and that is very important to me. I want to know that anyone who could discipline my son or daughter is vetted and trained and don’t have anything on their record that shows they have used any kind of excessive force. As a Black mom and a single mom at that, I am already worried about our safety at home and in the community—to have to worry about my kids’ safety at school puts even more stress on me.
Venita Moore also knows that IPS doesn’t have enough Black and Brown or male teachers. She wants to create a plan to partner with universities and colleges to attract more teachers of color and more male teachers. That is very important to me. I also agree with her that no matter the color of a teacher, they need to have diversity and implicit bias training.
When the parent committee I am a part of was reviewing the candidates for District 2, we knew we wanted someone on the board who would turn around schools that are failing children like ours and make sure our kids have great teachers and brighter futures. Venita Moore checked every box and then some which is why she earned our strong support.
If you’re not yet registered to vote, please register today. And if you’re in District 2, don’t stop at the top of your ballot before selecting Venita Moore’s name. School board members play a huge role in the future of Indianapolis and make choices that will decide if kids like mine get the education they deserve or not.