The Douglas Anderson Integrity Statement is a page-long document that outlines specific bullet points of what administration believes is not covered in the district made, Student Code of Conduct.
The statement was created amid race relations entering and remaining in the forefront of American news.
Prior to the statement’s creation, DA alumni contacted the school’s administration. Alumni students Jade Collins, and Madison Kiernan were two of the students who initiated the conversation with administration about changes in DA’s culture.
Leading up the discussion, Collins and Kiernan posted to Facebook and Instagram, asking students to comment their experiences at DA involving racism.
“It was about building a case and showing administration the pattern,” said Collins.
Administrators took these allegations very seriously.
“Jade shared accounts we were unaware of,” said Melanie Hammer, Principal.
One category, out of the three outlined in the document titled, “Unethical Behaviors” specifically notes “the use of Racial Slurs” after many students raised concerns about the use of slurs and targeted speech in the past.
In the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year, some students and teachers were accused of using racial slurs on campus and social media. Students passed out pamphlets and organized a walk-out in an attempt to create the change they wanted to see at DA. Hammer said this is what inspired the Integrity Statement.
“[The Integrity Statement] did not come from student accounts that Jade shared with us,” Hammer said. “It came from some of the situations we were dealing with early February and March, as well as hearing from current students and recent graduates about social media and how the district Code of Conduct didn’t allow us to address social media.”
Going against the expectations listed in the Integrity Statement will now have greater consequences along with the punishments already listed in the Code of Conduct. Stated in the Integrity Statement as “supplemental measures,” students can now be excluded from performances, leadership roles, honor societies and even be given various referrals.
“[DA] should be held at a higher standard due to the rigorous art and academic classes.” said Tammy Sproch-Boyd, dean of students. “I can’t change the Code of Conduct, but I can enforce it.”
She said there should be more than a phone call home for students going against the rules.
Sproch-Boyd said that by having both students and parents sign the document, they are forced to read the new rules and help hold students and parents accountable for their actions both on and off campus.
DA administration also created a committee known as the Student Culture Advisory Group. The goal is “to be able to give student’s a voice at Douglas Anderson and, really, a direct voice to me,” said Hammer.
“The DA Student Culture Advisory Group will meet once a month with district representatives and me to help create the change we want to see in the culture at DA,” said Hammer.
Collins said she wouldn’t have changed anything she did to bring this to the administration’s attention.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Collins said, “and this was a perfect time to have these kinds of conversations at DA.”
“I would 100 percent agree with Jade. I think it was 100 percent timely with what’s going on currently,” said Hammer.