In August 2020, Brett Jacobsen, chief executive officer and head of The Mount Vernon School, outside Atlanta, issued a letter to the school community, saying he was instituting new changes to the school, after meeting with members of the Black community. “As a school community,” he wrote, “we grieve and stand with members of the Black community to unearth and eradicate systems, processes, as well as the behavior of tearing people down with words and actions of racism and prejudice.”
He wrote the school “has been examining tangible ways to build a more inclusive future.”
The measures include:
- Expansion of Student Code of Conduct to “combat and eradicate words of racism and acts of prejudice.”
- Creation of an “anti-bias and anti-racism framework” for students, faculty, staff and administrators.
- Beginning a process of “diversity assessment,” led by an external partner.
- Pledging 20 percent of The Mount Vernon Fund toward “inclusion, diversity, and equity initiatives.”
- Establishing the new leadership position of “Chief of Inclusion Diversity Equity & Action.”
In the months since, according to the school website, Seattle-based trainer Rosetta Lee visited the school campus “to consult our faculty and staff, while leading workshops throughout each division with parents and students on topics such as cross-cultural communication, identity development, prejudice reduction, coalition building, gender diversity, facilitation skills, bullying in schools, and gender bias in the classroom.”
In addition, the school featured an initiative, “Grade 3 Explores Social Justice.”