Report by Paula Antolini, June 9, 2020, 6:10PM EDT
Bethel Advocate readers asked us to do a story on how many minority individuals are hired in Bethel schools and Bethel Government, and what are the hiring policies?
We sent a message to Dr. Carver, Superintendent of Bethel Public Schools, and also the same message to First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker.
Neither Carver nor Knickerbocker have given us the complete (or any) answers to questions asked, which was a detailed list of minorities hired, names, job titles and salaries. Therefore, we are sending a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) to each. We will follow up in an additional story as this progresses.
On Friday, June 5th, we sent the following message to Dr. Carver and FS Knickerbocker:
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“In light of the present heightened interest in racial equality set off by the George Floyd death, and subsequent protest or vigils, people have been asking me to do a story on how many minority individuals are on staff at Bethel Public Schools, and who they are, and in what job titles. I will also be asking First Selectman Knickerbocker [reverse names for Knickerbocker’s message] the same question about employees and board and committee members in town government. What is the official policy in hiring minorities, and can you send me the actual policy or a link to it? And also the names and job titles I asked for above.“
Dr. Carver’s response on Monday, June 8th, about what they PLAN on doing, the “actions steps will likely be” is as follows, but as you can see, nothing was provided but the Policy Number, and no numbers of minorities hired, as we asked.
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“You can find it in Policy 4111.3 on our district website. We are revising our written plan to be included in our strategic plan. The actions steps will likely be as follows: Ensure that our workforce is reflective of our student body.
–Ensure that our workforce is reflective of our student body.
–Recruit students of color into our Cadet Teaching program to create a pipeline of certified staff.
–-Ensure our hiring practices promote the hiring of minority staff.
–-Screen incoming candidates around issues of equity.
–Ensure that our induction programs include professional learning focused on equity, understanding of systemic racism and unconscious bias.
–Recruit candidates of color from college connections and recruitment fairs.
“The recruitment process and numbers of certified minority candidates is an issue state wide.”
We looked at the BPS district website and viewed Policy 4111.3, last adopted 20 years ago on March 13, 2000, and it reads as follows:
Personnel – Certified/Non-Certified, Minority Recruitment Plan”
“The Bethel Board of Education recognizes that the increasing diversity of individuals and cultures is a growing characteristic of our state and nation which should have a significant bearing on the activities of the school district. Further, the State of Connecticut has determined that the educational interests of the state require efforts by each school district to provide educational opportunities for its students to interact with teachers from other racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds in order to reduce racial, ethnic and economic isolation.
“To this end, the Board of Education believes that the importance of diversity of individuals and cultures should be recognized in the recruitment and assignment of personnel in order to help promote an intellectually and culturally dynamic environment that enables all students to gain an increased awareness and appreciation of the diverse world in which all are connected.
“Accordingly, the Superintendent of Schools shall develop and maintain a written plan for minority staff recruitment as approved by the Board and shall report to the Board annually on implementation of the plan. Consistent with the Board’s policies on Affirmative Action (4111.1) and Nondiscrimination (4118.11), said plan for minority staff recruitment shall provide for an energetic effort to attract talented minority educators and other minority personnel to serve in available positions within the Bethel Public Schools with the long range goal of achieving staffing of the school district and of each school which is broadly representative of the populations of the regional and state communities of which Bethel is a part.
(View policy in its entirety on link.)
Referenced Policy 4111.1 from above text, Policy Adopted: 9/28/1992, Policy Revised: 10/16/03:
Equal Employment Opportunity
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The Bethel Board of Education provides equal employment opportunities for all employees and applicants for employment. This policy means that all employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, physical, or mental disability, genetic predisposition, or carrier status, veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by local, state, and federal laws. Employment decisions include, but are not limited to, recruitment, hiring, promotion, transfer, compensation, benefits, training, layoff, and termination.
The school district hires people based on their qualifications for the position being filled by virtue of job related standards of suitability. Unless provided otherwise by contract, the school district’s promotional decisions are based upon an employee’s performance and qualifications as they relate to the new responsibilities.
Reasonable accommodations shall be available to disabled employees, where their disability affects the performance of job functions. Pre-employment inquiries shall be made only regarding an applicant’s fitness for the job. Medical records shall be kept separate from other employee information and shall be treated confidentially in accordance with applicable state and federal law.
Any employee or applicant who feels there has been a violation of this policy should bring the matter to the immediate attention of the Building Principal, or the Title IX Coordinator, unless the Title IX Coordinator is the subject of the complaint, in which case it should be brought to the Superintendent. Any staff member or administrator who receives a complaint should bring the matter to the immediate attention of the Title IX Coordinator, unless he or she feels the Title IX Coordinator is the inappropriate person to handle the matter under the particular circumstances, in which case, it should be brought to the attention of the Superintendent of Schools.
The Title IX Coordinator (or Superintendent or his/her designee) shall have responsibility for coordinating compliance with this policy and investigating or supervising the investigation of complaints.
(View policy in its entirety on link.)
Reerenced Policy 4118.11 from above is either missing or under 4218.11? Policy adopted:10/19/2005, Revised:3/15/2018….
Non-Discrimination in Employment Practices
The Board of Education will not make employment decisions (including decisions related to hiring, assignment, compensation, promotion, demotion, disciplinary action and termination) on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability (including pregnancy), genetic information, veteran status or gender identity or expression, except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification.
It is the policy of the Board of Education that any form of discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability (including pregnancy), genetic information, veteran status or gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by state or federal law is prohibited, whether by students, Board employees or third parties subject to the control of the Board. The Board’s prohibition of discrimination or harassment in its educational programs or activities expressly extends to academic, nonacademic and extracurricular activities, including athletics. It is also the policy of the Board of Education to provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any discrimination on the basis of protected characteristics such as race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, disability (including pregnancy), veteran status or gender identity or expression.
For the purposes of this policy, “genetic information” means the information about genes, gene products, or inherited characteristics that may derive from an individual or a family member. “Genetic information” may also include an individual’s’ family medical history, the results of an individual’s or family member’s genetic tests, the fact that an individual or an individual’s family member sought or received genetic services, and genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or an individual’s family member or an embryo lawfully held by an individual or family member receiving assistive reproductive services.
For the purposes of this policy, “veteran” means any person honorably discharged from, or released under honorable conditions from active service in, the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air Force and any reserve component thereof, including the Connecticut National Guard.
For the purposes of this policy, “gender identity or expression” means a person’s gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth, which gender-related identity can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held, part of a person’s core identity or not being asserted for an improper purpose.
(View policy in its entirety on link.)
Regarding First Selectman Knickerbocker, this was his response, on June 7th:
“I have forwarded your message to our HR director to put together the info. One of us will write back tomorrow.”
It is now June 9th and we have not heard back. We will follow up.