TA Deepens Its Commitment to Anti-Racism

TA Deepens Its Commitment to Anti-Racism

The following was sent to the Valley News as a letter to the editor on July 8 and distributed to the TA community via email …

Two recent graduates of Thetford Academy wrote an op-ed for the Valley News last week (“Vermonters, racism is here in our own backyard” by Raphael Orleck-Jetter and Emma Glazer) about the need for our society, including our school, to be more overtly anti-racist. We applaud them for adding their voices to the urgent call for change in our region and our nation. Our board and administration had begun to take steps to make ourselves more anti-racist, including the dissemination of a statement condemning racism and intolerance immediately after the murder of George Floyd. Further to that end, we share the following pledge:

The trustees and leadership of Thetford Academy (TA) acknowledge the need to dismantle interpersonal and structural racism in ourselves, our school, and our community. While progressive ideas are deeply embedded in Thetford Academy’s history and mission, we recognize that our school, like our nation, has still more work to do to be overtly anti-racist. To further this work, we make the following commitments to reject racism in all forms at Thetford Academy:

  1. We reaffirm that racism is not compatible with Thetford Academy’s values, policies, and practices.
  2. We recognize that racism has been and is still present in the words and actions (and inactions) of members of our community, and we understand that we need to redouble our efforts to stop all acts of racism, be they subtle or overt, and to actively work to dismantle systems that perpetuate racism. 
  3. We commit to collectively making TA a place that feels welcoming and safe for all students of color at all times and to having zero tolerance for racist behavior on the TA campus and at TA-sponsored events.
  4. We resolve to listen carefully to any expressions of concern about racist acts, unlearn our own implicit biases, and admit our own mistakes, even when it makes us uncomfortable.
  5. We commit to collaborating with the faculty to integrate anti-racism education throughout the TA curriculum and in every discipline.
  6. We commit to conducting ongoing education in anti-racism for everyone in the TA community, including trustees, administrators, faculty and staff, and students.
  7. We pledge to initiate healing as we learn about or gain a deeper understanding of situations where racism has existed at TA, both historically and today.
  8. We commit to making TA a leader in the promotion of anti-racism by partnering and engaging with the broader Upper Valley community in anti-racism educational events.
  9. We commit to recruiting and hiring a more diverse employee cohort, without making excuses for the challenges of doing so.
  10. We commit to establishing a collaborative working group of trustees, administrators, faculty and staff, students, alumni, and community members to lead the promotion of anti-racist ideas and to increase equity, inclusion, and diversity at Thetford Academy.

Thetford Academy’s trustees, in collaboration with the school’s leadership, hold ourselves accountable for advancing anti-racism efforts at TA, including championing the commitments listed above and allocating the financial resources needed to prioritize anti-racism as a core value of our school.

We invite the community to join us in this important work.

On behalf of all of us at Thetford Academy,

Gio Bosco, President, Board of Trustees & Carrie Brennan, Head of School