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Letter to the editor: RHHS' journey towards diversity and inclusion continues

Dear Editor:

Eleven years ago, my husband and I moved to Richmond Hill, prompted by a new teaching job opportunity. My husband suggested we relocate closer to the school to shorten my commute. I had just been hired to teach ninth-grade English at Richmond Hill High School. With 20 years of teaching experience and having worked in three different districts, I was eager for this new chapter at my fourth school.

My first day at Richmond Hill coincided with the initial planning day of the school year. I entered what is now the cafeteria of the West Campus, searching for a place to sit. The room was already filled with seated staff, and I quickly realized that none of them looked like me—except for a group of custodians seated together at a distance. I chose an empty seat near the front, feeling the weight of being the only black teacher present.

In the years that followed, the diversity among the staff did not significantly change, even though the student body became more diverse. This shift in student demographics brought a refreshing change to the classroom, yet highlighted the disparity between the diversity of the students and that of the staff and administration. The presence of diverse adults remained significantly outnumbered by the diverse student population.

Richmond Hill High School has made progress since those early days. From being the only black teacher in the department and school, I now find myself among several diverse colleagues. In 11 years, we have come a long way, but there is still much work to be done. I am pleased with the recent outreach efforts aimed at recruiting and retaining diverse teachers to better reflect our student demographics.

While it is encouraging to see an increase in the hiring of diverse teachers, retention remains a critical issue. It is essential that we not only attract but also support and retain these educators to ensure a truly inclusive and representative school environment.

Richmond Hill High School’s journey towards diversity and inclusion continues, and I am hopeful for the future as we strive to create a more equitable educational community.

Sharon Butts, Richmond Hill High School, Richmond Hill, Georgia.

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