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School district, coalition talk responses to hateful flyers

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming coalition has asked a school district to make multiple changes to better protect students from racism and homophobia after hateful flyers were spread at a junior high in Cheyenne last year.

The Wyoming Independent Citizens Coalition has asked Laramie County School District 1 to hire more minority teachers, involve community members in diversity training and change disciplinary policies against hateful actions, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported.

The coalition formed last March after flyers saying “join the KKK” with “the confederate kid club” in parentheses beneath it were posted and distributed at McCormick Junior High School, officials said.

Coalition members also shared their concerns and questions Thursday about the response to the incident with Superintendent Boyd Brown and Diversity Coordinator Patti Paredes, members said.

“Us, as a community, we have our views on what needs to be done,” Stephen Latham of the coalition said.

Following the incident, the school district enlisted the help of community groups including the coalition to form an action plan, officials said. Members of the coalition have said communication has since faded and the district has not met expectations set in the original action plan from May.

The district was supposed to roll out the SPIRIT program by November with students, teachers and administrators collaborating, identifying problems at the school and working toward solutions together, but the deadline passed, coalition members said.

The district implemented the Networks of Support program instead without informing the coalition that the SPIRIT program was not being implemented or was being delayed, members said.

“We know we need the community’s help, and I’ve said that many times,” Brown said. “I know that it’s my fault. I didn’t do a good job communicating, and I apologize for that.”

Paredes has plans to keep the coalition and its members involved in developing disciplinary policies, she said.

Disciplinary actions don’t specifically address incidents related to racism or homophobia, but the new set of policies would focus on restorative justice, district officials said.

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