GHAPS pushes diversity

The Grand Haven school district’s diversity and anti-bullying committees are joining forces.
Krystle Wagner
Oct 22, 2013

Scott Grimes, assistant superintendent of human services for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, said it makes sense for the groups to connect because diversity issues involve bullying and harassment.

Grimes updated the Grand Haven school board Monday night about the district’s three- to five-year target to provide safe and supportive schools for all students. The district also has a one-year goal to coordinate diversity efforts and emphasize acceptance and inclusion of all students.

“Having a larger group of staff working toward common goals helps facilitate the successful implementation of various activities and initiatives,” Grimes said.

The combined committee's 33 members include administrators, teachers and counselors from each building. They meet on a monthly basis.

All Grand Haven school staff have been trained in "cultural competency" through the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance.

Grimes said there are also training opportunities available for staff such as the Racial Equity Institute, Safe Zone and Restorative Circles, which supports individuals in conflict by bringing together those impacted, the person committing the action and witnesses to discuss the events.

Grimes said the district is also proud to be involved with the Diversity Initiative of Northwest Ottawa County.

“Grand Haven Area Public Schools recognizes the importance of, and is committed to, diversity," he said, "and believes that focused, organized and deliberate efforts are required to improve the environment within the district to ensure our vision of ‘Success For All.’”

The group looks to engage the district through creating two or three initiatives at each school building.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



Morgan Freeman said the best way to get past racism is to stop talking about it on a daily basis...I tend to agree, address actual assaults but words are not assaults they are words…just words. We ignore words all the time such as “NO PARKING” or “SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT”.
We are bombarded with the thought without a school or government stepping in bullying will only grow…this is where parents should step in, parents, teach your children not to make someone else’s problem their problem.
As a youth in the 60’s I was subjected to bullying and racist acts every day, getting on or off the school bus meant one punch after another, we were stripped of anything of value, our school supplies, milk and/or lunch money every morning and there were the endless verbal taunts, if we reacted we were beat up, if we didn’t we were beat up anyway all in view of the bus driver who did nothing other than the one time he saw me flip “the” finger to the back of the head one of my assailants then it was an ear tug all the way to the office.
As children we endured the through a morally corrupted system that valued social justice and not equal justice. I thank God for parents that ingrained “turn the other cheek”, they don’t hate you they envy you, their lives must be worse off we are…really? we were living in abject poverty after my Dad started having heart attacks, what we had others gave to us, we had one tank of oil per winter so heat was more to keep the pipes from freezing, when it was below zero ice formed in the toilet and blankets stuck to frosty barely insulated bedroom walls and yet I sensed Mom was right when she said you’re not hated at all, your envied for your joy through adversity and hardship.
My parents made sure I knew I am not any of the things the other kids said I was and I became stronger instead of angrier. I wanted to be angry and have a reason to retaliate for instant gratification but God swept away the veil and showed me the goodness hidden within an aching heart and a burden to lift lives filled with sorrow. I realized there acts were born of fear, insecurity and ignorant envy and not out of actual hatred for me or my skin color; are things so different today? Punches still bruise arms and eyes, creative language still exists, are words today worse than back then? I thank God for the times I felt alone in my suffering because through the slings and arrows of yesterday I am able to endure and prevail joyously over suffering today. I wasn’t being punished; I was being taught and prepared for far worse things to come.


Excellent post.


We all have to push for diversity. Whether we like it or not, it is here to stay. - Marla Ahlgrimm

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