Mountain Brook Schools diversity initiative drawing attention from community members

Local News

MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WIAT) — It was a packed house at the Mountain Brook City Council Chamber Monday night. The hot topic on the agenda was the public discussion about the school systems diversity initiative.

Mountain Brook Schools announced they would implement recommendations for the upcoming school year. The school system hired the Anti-Defamation League to help come up with policies; but they will make some of their own changes to the initiative plan.

The Council allowed people to address them about their concerns or approval of the initiative, but the audience was not allowed to react nor applaud during comments. They told audience members they do not have the authority over the school board with these decisions. Some people who addressed the council believe there is a lack of diversity training and understanding still within the school system.

“It was a while ago, but it keeps happening. It’s still happening,” one woman told the council.

People like Frank McPhillips, who is one of the founders of MB Listens, believes having more diversity training for schools is vital for the community.

“I think the principles of inclusion, and diversity, and equity,” McPhillips said. “The ADL was founded on the basis of fighting anti-Semitism, but of course hate takes many forms.

Some parents at the meeting told CBS 42 they weren’t fans of how they found out about the initiative from the school board.

“By the recent efforts the school system has taking that are frankly divisive,” John Smith T addressed the council.

Smith T says they have a petition with hundreds of signatures expressing their opposition. He, along with other people, spoke about their opposition toward the ADL’s policies and approach when it comes to teaching diversity to students.

“But it needs to be a place of mutual respect and understanding. And to me, the ADL framework, at least where we started, did not do that,” Krissy Allen said.

Although there was a lot going on during Monday’s meeting, Rip Andrews set up two chairs and a cooler filled with beer outside the building with hopes to have more discussions about diversity with people. He believes everyone’s hearts are in the right place, but believes there is a better way to approach the conversation to make the community better.

“If we just get together and talk, with low volume and maybe over a beer if that’s how you like to do things, we can make a lot of progress and move forward in a united way than a divided way,” Andrews said.

For more information on the initiative, click here.

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