CARMEL — Parents of Carmel Clay students say they want to make sure their voices are heard when it comes to issues that have recently led to backlash against their district's school board.
Over the last few months, WRTV has seen parents speak out against mask mandates at local school board meetings, but back in the spring, we were there as many of those same parents, and community members with kids not in the district, voiced their opinions about Carmel Clay's ongoing Diversity, Equity and Inclusive initiatives. The push back has been very confusing for the parents WRTV talked to for this story. Danette Howard was one of them.
"I think every single parent would be supportive of preparing their children to be the best leader they can be and in my mind, that's exactly what this is about," Howard said. DEI efforts are not only happening in schools but across many different sectors. Howard says she's seen that first hand.
"They realize it's not only the right thing to do, it's the wise thing to do. It's the wise thing to do because we are equipping the leaders for tomorrow."
Amal Anthony says she knows many students, like her kids, are noticing Carmel Clay's commitment to diversity.
"I have a ten-year-old and 13-year-old, elementary and middle school. Both of them are very aware of the changes that the district was putting in place last year. They talked about how nice it was to see books where they were represented, talking about the curriculum being more than just white men for US history," Anthony explained.
Many people speaking out against the efforts have called diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives political. Nicki McNally says that's not the case.
"In our minds as parents with kids in the district, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, that's not politics, those are people," McNally said. "These schools are trying to burst that Carmel bubble and make us what we weren't 20 years ago which was a very white community. It's just trying to teach kids like mine that there's more to world. There are different perspectives and that makes us great."
Carmel Clay has a website highlighting their DEI efforts. Information is shared so parents, students, and community members can see what the district is doing. On that website, the district explains DEI initiatives, like listening sessions, events, and committees are meant to provide resources for students and staff. The district emphasizes that these are not a replacement for any subject, will not reduce opportunities for any students, and will not change expectations for academic achievement.