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Commissioner Willa Powell responds to LeBron skipping racial-bias training

Activist and educator Howard Eagle reached out to Commissioner Willa Powell to fact-check our story on Vice President Beatriz LeBron skipping the racial-bias training.

Commissioner Powell stated, "This is the first I’ve seen of reporting on our training last Saturday. Below the link you ask if it is true that, “State-Monitor Shelley Jallow will reprimand the vice president for skipping another racial-bias training?"

Answer: I don’t know if it will go down as described. i will share what happened: - The trainer presented a slide containing the language from the findings on Table 4, item 2 of the State Monitor’s Academic Plan, by way of introducing the purpose of the mandated training: “Racial tensions and mistrust are catalysts for the friction that exists among Board members. The Board has previously acknowledged the need to improve group dynamics and minimize the underlying racial tension that exists among the group, but outbursts at recent Board meetings suggest little progress has been realized in the area of collegiality and respect. Training for Board Commissioners has been scheduled to address this challenge.”

- I have already shared with you the exact language of Dr Jallow’s corresponding recommendation:

“The Board shall incorporate racial and linguistic bias training into the onboarding process for new Board Commissioners and the professional development plan for all Board Commissioners” - At the training, observing Comm. Lebron’s absence, I asked Dr. Jallow to clarify whether she meant for the Board to simply host the training for all Board members to satisfy this recommendation, or whether she intended EVERY Board member to participate? If the latter, what was the accountability process? - Dr Jallow indicated that her expectation was that ALL Board members participate. To the second half of the question she answered that, given the amount of time and opportunity to meet this mandate, she would be “reporting” the matter to Commissioner Rosa. This response stands in contrast to the reporting. She did not say that she would be reprimanding anyone… only that she would be reporting. Whether Commissioner Rosa will be reprimanding, or whether there will be other consequences, I do not know. As to other assertions in the article stemming “from White counterparts complaining of discrimination,” I cannot shed any light on that. I only know what is stated in the above excepts of the report." Best Regards, Willa

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