Teacher Rolandra Hanson’s call for more multicultural education in the Marble Falls Independent School District led to a meeting between her and District Assistant Superintendent of Administration Jeff Gasaway to discuss her proposed plan of action to fight racism in local schools.
Hanson spoke to the MFISD board of trustees during its April 19 meeting, recounting her experiences as an African American woman who has faced microaggressions and racist comments as a teacher in the district. A microaggression is an indirect statement or action that discriminates against minorities.
Hanson told trustees she had developed an action plan for the district to consider that she believed would facilitate concrete change.
“While the district has made great strides in reaching each and every student, I seek to bring light to an area of improvement where I believe the district requires significant growth,” said the Spicewood Elementary School prekindergarten teacher.
Hanson shared examples of negative experiences she and her children, who attend Marble Falls area schools, have experienced, including racial slurs and instances of her professional expertise being questioned because of her race.
Hanson’s statements were shared during the public hearing portion of the board meeting, which means board members were unable to enter into a dialogue with her on the subject as per regulations.
However, board member Alex Payson expressed his appreciation to Hanson for sharing her experiences.
“I’m in a multicultural relationship and family, and while I, myself, do not represent minorities in our community, I’m very aware of some of these situations,” Payson said. “I appreciate you coming and speaking to us about this. Certainly, (inclusion and awareness are) something we can all improve upon.”
According to a fall 2020 Snapshot Report conducted by the district, Black students make up 1.85 percent of the 4,032 students enrolled on MFISD campuses. Currently, only 0.02 percent of the 414 district teachers and administrators are African American.