Parents and community members are demanding major changes to the Lucia Mar Unified School District following what they say has been years of "ignoring issues that affect the well being of students."
The Lucia Mar Unified School District is the largest school district in San Luis Obispo County, with more than 10,000 students.
Some alumni said during their time in the district, they faced racial issues and microaggressions, but were not taught the tools on how to address them.
"No one ever talks about these things. So a lot of people have gone through the district and experienced a lot of racism or sexual harassment, but they never come forward with that," Flor Hernandez, a member of the Central Coast Organization on Racial Injustice, said.
The Central Coast Organization on Racial Injustice has now created a petition aimed at making students and staff feel more comfortable on campuses in the Lucia Mar School District.
"We believe it's not very far fetched of an idea because we all want equality so that's what these demands are for - to push the line further to a more equal district just here in our community," Rogelio Flores, a member of the organization, said.
The petition includes nearly a dozen demands ranging from improving social studies curriculum to having better hiring practices and training for staff.
Arroyo Grande High School student Anthony Filice said he agrees with some of the demands, but others like: "removing all police from school grounds" and "banning the confederate flag," he considers a reach.
"Some people who have the confederate flag aren't necessarily racist; you're not inherently racist if you have a confederate flag or if you're a supporter of the confederate flag," Filice said.
The Lucia Mar School District says in a statement:
The Lucia Mar Board of Trustees and District Leadership believe that the diversity that exists among the district’s community of students, staff, parents/guardians, and community members is integral to the district’s vision, mission, and goals.
Lucia Mar has formed an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) working group to tackle various projects over the course of the year. Together, we are developing short term and long term goals for EDI work.
Possible short term goals include the following:
• Engaging with the community for their ongoing input on this important work
• Analyzing and updating relevant board policy,
• Researching and developing an ethnic studies course to be taught at the high school level in 21-22,
• Analyzing and selecting new literature for use in our English Language Arts curriculum by Black and Indigenous People of Color, and,
• Identify an approach to professional development opportunities for all staff around issues of equity, diversity and inclusion.
The school district said its EDI group is meeting again this week.
The Central Coast Organization on Racial Injustice said so far the district has been receptive to their requests; however, they are still waiting for the changes to be put in place.