Community PTA News

Update re: 10/20/22 FCPS School Board Meeting “Hot Mic” Incident

A stack of multi-colored neon post-it notes on a grey background. The top sticky says "Community Update" and has the SEPTA logo in the bottom right corner.

The SEPTA Board had a productive and meaningful conversation with Ms. Keys-Gamarra this week. She apologized directly to us for the harm caused by her words. In so doing, Ms. Keys-Gamarra expressed deep remorse and shared numerous steps that she has already taken in repentance as well as steps she plans to take moving forward. SEPTA board members shared the historical relevance of this term and the personal impact that its use has on individuals today, including ourselves, our family members, and our students. We discussed the importance of intersectional advocacy and the impact of derogatory language on multiple populations in our community such as racial, religious, gender & sexual orientation minorities, and the additional intersectionality these groups have with the disability community. We discussed with Ms. Keys-Gamarra the value of her leading by example in her journey of growth and learning. 

Additionally, we emphasized that this is an important opportunity for the School Board to shine a light on and address multiple problems currently impacting the FCPS Intellectual Disability (ID) and Developmental Disability (DD) programs including, but not limited to: a lack of Science of Reading-based literacy instruction and curriculum materials; inaccessibility of materials; the significant burden that the current workload and number of multi-grade level classes has on our self-contained classrooms; the high number of provisionally licensed teachers who lack training and experience; and the need for a mindset shift across the district to one that presumes the competence of these students and supports high expectations for their growth and achievement. 

We encouraged Ms. Keys-Gamarra to be public and transparent in her restorative work and informed her that SEPTA is open to sharing her messaging about the actions that she is taking to address the inequities and prejudices affecting the disability community. We look forward to further public communication from Ms. Keys-Gamarra. We hope that she will help our community begin to heal while advancing the work of making every child’s potential a reality.

0 comments on “Update re: 10/20/22 FCPS School Board Meeting “Hot Mic” Incident

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: