JAY — Thursday night Regional School Unit 73 Board of Directors were asked to form a district equity committee.

A decision on forming one will be made at a future meeting after directors have time to think about the request.

Spruce Mountain High School Principal TJ Plourde said a committee has been looking at issues of equity in that school and possible methods or processes to address them.

Kymberly Bryant, an English teacher at SMHS, presented information about the proposed district equity committee, its purpose and why it is needed.

“Our school’s mission is to provide opportunities to explore diverse perspectives through the arts and multicultural appreciation and promote responsibility, respect, empathy and compassion throughout the school and greater community,” Bryant said.

Some things need to be worked on as a district, she said.


“There are a lot of things to consider,” Bryant stressed. “It will take a lot of time and effort.”

A lot of people confuse equity with equality, she added.

A slide in her presentation showed the differences between equality, equity and justice. With equality, everyone gets equal treatment. Under equity, extra support is given when needed. And justice happens when all barriers to equal access have been removed, the most ideal scenario.

Regional School Unit 73 directors were asked to form a district equity committee Thursday, Oct. 8. During a presentation on why the committee is needed, this slide on the differences between equality, equity and justice was shown. TK credit

Another slide gave the proposed mission of the equity committee: To advise the district and act as community catalyst to provide students from marginalized racial and ethnic groups, economically disadvantaged backgrounds, LGBT students, students who have physical and mental disabilities and mental health issues, and students who speak languages other than English with equitable and inclusive educational experiences. In addition, the equity committee would promote empathy, respect and compassion within the district for our diverse population.

As proposed, the committee would consist of all administrators, school board members, kindergarten through grade 12 staff members, students and parents. It would work to create district-wide equity/anti-bias policies, plan staff and student trainings, review and integrate equity into curriculum, and work to create equitable policies/procedures.

“We want to be in line with other schools around the country,” Bryant said. “We could be in the forefront rather than playing catch up.”


Student representative Taylor Guay asked if religion would be covered.

The committee would make sure no policies exclude anyone’s religion, Bryant said.

Director Patrick Milligan asked about the committee’s impact in schools and the community as a whole.

“The major thing is just looking at it, students and community members will get a sense of having a place to voice their concerns,” Bryant said.

It would show the community this is something we care about, she added.

“We’re talking about a lot of little things that can make a really big difference, things that won’t make a huge difference to everyone else,” Bryant said.


Labeling of bathrooms as non-gender was one suggestion.

“A number of staff members did a lot of training and workshops on this this summer,” Bryant said.

Director Joel Pike asked if the committee would be voluntary or offer a stipend.

“It’s entirely voluntary at this point. We can find staff at each level to help with that,” Bryant replied.

“A lot of students feel things aren’t accommodating for them,” Guay said. “These little changes may make a big difference for them in a positive way.”

Recent changes in the policy handbook got a lot of feedback on how students feel more included, more accepted, Director Phoebe Pike said.


“This aligns with what we want,” she said. “We want everyone to feel welcome. We know everyone in our district is important, and we don’t want anyone to feel excluded.”

Director Andrew Sylvester back

In other business, RSU 73 Director Andrew Sylvester of Livermore said he has finished his quarantine period after testing positive for COVID-19.

Sylvester received the test result on Sept. 20. He works at the Rumford paper mill where 16 employees had tested positive that week.

“I’m feeling well. I appreciate the thoughts of everybody,” he said. “I plan to stay remote as much as I can for the next month or so.”

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