Launch of the Danvers School Culture and Climate Improvement Site

DANVERS, MA — A new page on the Danvers Public Schools website highlights the work the district is doing to improve the school climate and culture — as well as next steps — in the wake of the Attorney General Maura Healey’s investigation into how schools have dealt with racism. and anti-Semitic incidents and accusations of homophobic hazing over the past three years.

The AG’s office cited a “toxic team culture” in accusations of high school hockey locker room hazing from 2019-2020 and called on the district to review the district’s civil rights policies, introduce additional staff training and to provide an identification and prevention program. bullying and hazing to students.

As part of that process, Danvers Acting Superintendent Mary Wermers told the Danvers School Committee that the district has added a Responses and Future Actions page to the school’s website under the Communications tab “Improve school culture and climate”.

“This page highlights the work we’ve done over the past few months,” Wermers said. “None of these activities are unique and complete. They are ongoing and growing.”

The AG’s office acknowledged the district’s cooperation in the investigation launched earlier this spring and noted that “there has been a turnover among significant DPSD personnel since the incidents in question occurred.” by making no “factual or legal findings” in the case.

The webpage is divided into three sections – “Safe and Supportive Schools and Classrooms”, “Improving Sports Culture” and “Student Voices”.

The “Safe and supportive schools and classrooms” The tab includes information on identity work, last winter’s student and adult Holocaust symposium, Anti-Defamation League anti-bias training, family transparency committees, creation of culturally sensitive leadership academy and the wall of kindness project.

The Enhancing Sports Culture section includes information about training at the Northeastern Center for Sport in Society, an MIAA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion course and summit, and how Danvers High teams have hosted days on the field to connect with primary school students.

The Student Voice section includes information on the number of different student organizations that have developed and contributed to anti-bias initiatives.

“These issues are all the more important given our complex, challenging and ever-changing world,” the webpage says in its mission statement. “What we can do and we are committed to doing is to both share what we have done to improve the DPS culture in general and the Danvers High School athletic programs specifically since December 2021.

“We know that words alone are not enough – actions speak louder and better.”

(Scott Souza is a Patch Editor covering Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem and Swampscott. He can be reached at [email protected] Twitter: @Scott_Souza.)

Martha K. Merrill