FCS Anti-Racism Initiative

A bold effort to address and disrupt an unjust educational system and racist practices in hopes of creating equitable opportunities and outcomes for black students and students of color.

What We Are Built On

In the city where Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, the unfortunate event has left a proverbial scar in the city of Memphis, the south, and America. While progress has been made, there is much more to do.

Dr. King came to the city to not only fight for the rights of sanitation workers, but also against the systemic institution of racism.

In 2020, Racism was declared a pandemic in Shelby County. To not tackle how racism affects the school system would be an injustice to our students. As an educational organization, serving students in two of Memphis’ most disadvantaged communities, we feel it’s only right that we make it our mission to dismantle and disrupt and unjust educational system rooted in racism; a system that directly affects our students and their families and can ultimately impact the trajectory of their success.

CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS MARCH

The Birth of the Initiative

In 2020, during an already unprecedented year due to the COVID-19 pandemic- the country, and possibly the world was uprooted after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and others. As a result of the unfortunate events, companies began taking stances against racist practices, vowing to put diversity and inclusion at the forefront of their organization, while adopting anti-racist policies.

While Frayser Community Schools has always condemned racism—after the unfortunate incidents that shifted the way many companies decided to do business—we knew that we couldn’t go back to business as usual. As an organization that serves a majority black student demographic, we felt morally obligated to examine our practices as an organization while also shedding light on the systemic racism and inequity that is pervasive in the educational system as a whole.

The FCS network team began holding collaborative meetings to focus specifically on our anti-racist agenda—to ensure we can be a part of the solution in addressing racist practices in education.

The FCS Anti-Racism Initiative is a bold effort to address and disrupt an unjust educational system and racist practices in hopes of creating equitable opportunities and outcomes for black students and students of color.

When I say antiracist education, I am talking about equipping students, parents, and teachers with the tools needed to combat racism and ethnic discrimination, and to find ways to build a society that includes all people on an equal footing.

Enid Lee

Our Approach

The Road to Education is Not Paved With Equal Opportunity. Racial inequity is baked into the nation’s education system in ways big and small. Black children face the most extreme hurdles to academic success.

Awareness

Shed light on the key inequitable issues affecting black students and students of color within the educational system.

Action

Implement plans that challenge anti-racist practices.

Advocacy

Boldy speak up and against issues that are racist; and provide our students, teachers, and parents with the information and tools needed to be advocates in education.

Three Areas of Focus

FCS Anti-Racism Initiative

The FCS Anti-Racism Initiative is our effort to address and disrupt an unjust educational system and racist practices in hopes of creating equitable opportunities and outcomes for black students and students of color.

While there is much to do when it comes to tackling racism in schools, FCS has created a comprehensive plan that focuses heavily on three areas.

When children attend schools that place a greater value on discipline and security than on knowledge and intellectual development, they are attending prep schools for prison.

Angela Davis
I just want to live

#1 Eliminating the School to Prison Pipeline

Black students are more likely to get suspended than white students. What has been called the “school-to-prison pipeline” often starts in the principal’s office and ends in prison, with school suspensions increasing the risk that black boys, in particular, end up incarcerated or drop out of school.

FCS will ensure that we focus on “restorative practices,” instead of “punitive practices.” This includes our new “no expulsion” policy that will ensure students are not suspended for minor infractions.

#2 Trauma-Informed Schools

In a trauma-informed school, the adults within the school community are prepared to recognize and respond to students who have been impacted by traumatic stress. Our schools will implement a layered approach to create an environment with clear behavior expectations, open communication, and sensitivity to the feelings and emotions of others.

This includes the hiring of a restorative justice specialists and enlisting community partners focused specifically on Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Adverse Childhood Experiences is the single unaddressed public health threat of our time.

Robert W. Block
father and son

#3 Parent Engagement & Advocacy

Parents are vital to student success. Despite this, many schools have failed at gaining the trust and providing a level of hospitality to black families.

Our schools will be intentional in creating spaces for parents to feel welcomed, while also providing them with the resources needed to become advocates in their child’s education.

Why MLK College Prep

CEO of Frayser Community Schools, Dr. Bobby White talks about why he decided to name the first school in his charter network after the late civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Donate to the Work

Your contribution is important to the work that we do. As we continue developing programs and opportunities for our students and families in the fight against racial discrimination in education, we need your support.

To be antiracist is a radical choice in the face of history, requiring a radical reorientation of our consciousness.

Ibram Kendi