I hope your weekend includes some time celebrating you. Thank you for all you do.

Greetings Advocates,

Happy Father's Day Weekend to fathers, step-fathers, uncles, older brothers, single parents, mentors, and anyone who takes on the role of a father for a child.

I hope your weekend includes some time celebrating you. Thank you for all you do.

I've been noticing that with the recent school shootings, conversations have turned back to the topic of police officers in schools. To be clear, there are school security officers and police officers, some armed, who serve in schools. 

Since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, the number of police officers in schools has increased; however, school shootings have also increased.

While much depends on the individual students and their relationship with law enforcement, young Black and Brown students are often in trouble for behavior or disciplinary issues when there are school officers. The majority of school shooters have been young men who are White.

One suggestion on how to keep our students safe is to arm teachers. On June 14, Ohio Governor Mike De Wine signed a bill that allows teachers with 24 hours training to carry guns in school. Ohio typically requires 700 hours of training before issuing a gun license.

There are many questions about what that will look like - presumably, a teacher wears a gun all day. What if the teacher has to break up a fight or if a student tries to grab the gun? And depending on the weapon, how effective will a firearm be if the school shooter has an AR-15? Also, with the amount of stress many of our educators are having from teaching, do we want to add to that stress by saying teachers will have to save the day if an active shooter enters the building?

I don't think I'd feel comfortable if I were in a school building and my fellow teachers were armed.

As the Ohio Governor has signed this bill into law, I am waiting to see how effective it is.

On another note, my guest on my Livestream this week was Jodi Fernandez, who runs a non-profit group called diasporicdreams.org. Her goal is to eradicate racism by "teaching truth."

After a conversation with a student who expressed racist thoughts, Fernandez realized that her responses would educate him. Instead, he recorded their conversation and shared it publicly, which led to Fernandez receiving death threats.

Jodi also recognized the increasing commercialization of strategies such as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives which have become performative and formulaic. Simply taking a 1 or 2 session workshop does not make a person less racist.

"They're capitalizing on our pain," Fernandez said, speaking of efforts by Walmart to sell Juneteenth ice cream. She said, growing up, Juneteenth had a particular meaning within the Black community. If you know, you know, however, it has now become something that commercial retailers attempt to celebrate by selling shirts and, yes, even ice cream.

She developed four strategies to encourage other teachers to begin anti-racism work. She notes that this work can take a long time and that we are all in the process of learning. 

  1. The re-education of the teacher. Teachers need to educate themself. This is because despite having participated in many professional developments and continuing education sessions, most teachers have not thoroughly examined and interrogated their own biases and done anti-racist work.
  2. Get to know your students. "A person is a person," Fernandez says, and by getting to know your students, finding out who they are, and connecting with them on an individual level, you will develop a relationship with them that will guide your interactions. 
  3. Be a flexible coach. Coaches in sports develop teams, which are sometimes like a family. Rather than focusing on content, develop the skills needed for success and coach your students.
  4. Commit to being an anti-racist policy activist, and an anti-racist educator. When we hear our colleagues commenting on students, step up and say something. And recognize that comments may be made in White spaces or spaces where non-White teachers may not be included or present. If you are there and can speak up on behalf of a minoritized group, it is a helpful reminder.

I enjoyed our conversation. Give the Livestream and have a listen, and don't forget to subscribe to the channel when you get a chance. I think you'll learn from it, as I did.

By the way, are you interested in being a guest on the Art of Advocacy Show? Fill out this application form, and I will get back to you shortly. I'm currently scheduling the Fall lineup.

Finally, I wanted to share some feedback from a group I'm working with this year and next school year. 

"Hi Dr. Eakins,

I just wanted to send a quick thank you for our session with your last Friday. Our staff REALLY appreciates you and the way you connected with them. I am excited about our sessions in August!"

Crystal Lancour, Ed.D.

Supervisor of Curriculum & Instruction

K-12 Mathematics

As many of us are transitioning into new roles and we are beginning to look at what next school year looks like for professional development, I'd like to invite you to collaborate with the Leading Equity Center to further your efforts. Book a free 30-minute consultation with me, and let's chat!


Book me for your next event or training.


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Every Friday you can expect a small and informative message from the Leading Equity Center. The Weekend Voice is meant to challenge your thoughts of education today and to provoke you to take action in your schools.