Policy Details Page

Policy 1600
The Board of Directors

PURPOSE:  The Tacoma School Board acknowledges that our American Public Education System was shaped by a system built on inequality and racism including slavery, segregation, “Jim Crow” laws and other types of racial exclusion.  The District has a history of addressing inequitable barriers and is committed to governance that intentionally creates racial equity rather than reinforces historic injustice.  The District rejects racism, bias and hatred toward people based upon their race, color or ethnicity with a goal of eliminating racism in District schools. The District also rejects other forms of bigotry, bias and hatred toward people based upon being indigenous or Native, LGBTQIA+, gender diversity, cultural and religious individuals and communities and people with disabilities.


We believe Tacoma Public Schools must be a welcoming environment

The District is a safe space for students, staff and community members. The District shall create a welcoming and respectful environment and a culture that reflects and supports the diversity of the student population and community. All languages are welcome in our schools, and students should be free to communicate in their language of choice as instructionally appropriate. Each school shall post a public statement against racism in a location visible to students, staff and visitors entering the school. In addition, the District will include other partners who have demonstrated culturally-specific expertise -- including government agencies, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and the community in general -- in meeting our educational outcomes. This policy shall be translated into other languages and be made available for families.

We believe schools must mirror our communities

Staff and students must be given the opportunity to understand racial and ethnic identity and the impact of their own racial and ethnic identity on themselves and others. The District must hire, retain, develop and promote staff who reflect our diverse community. Library books and instructional materials must have images and stories from and about people from diverse backgrounds so that students can see themselves represented. Visual images in schools, websites and publications must reflect our diverse community.


We believe students, staff and community members must be supported in addressing and eliminating racism

Retaliation will not be tolerated for speaking-up about racism, bigotry, bias or hatred. District staff have a responsibility to address instances of racism observed in our schools. We want to empower staff, students and community members to speak up rather than sit in silence if they witness or experience racism, bigotry, bias or hatred. The responsibility of District staff to address instances of racism include unconscious racist assumptions, “jokes” or comments based upon stereotypes or biases demonstrated by students, staff or community members.  The objective is to give participants feedback, help participants receive the feedback, reflect upon the feedback and work to change the behavior.

  1. Restorative justice and dispute resolution practices will be used when appropriate in accordance with our Social Emotional Learning (3112), Student Discipline (3241), Safety and Civility in Schools (3205) and Safety and Civility in the Workplace (5207) policies.
  2. We encourage staff, students and community members who receive feedback about their possible behaviors to reflect, engage and seek to understand.
  3. Students, staff or community members may bring a formal complaint about racism, bigotry, hate or bias through the procedures associated with the applicable Board policy: Non-Discrimination of Students (Policy 3210), Staff Non-Discrimination (Policy 5265), Staff Safety and Civility in the Workplace (Policy 5207). When investigating, the District will also consider if there is a violation of this Anti-Racism policy.

We believe in staff professional development on Anti-Racism

Educators play a vital role in reducing racism and inequity by recognizing the manifestations of racism, creating culturally inclusive learning and working environments and dismantling educational systems that directly or indirectly perpetuate racism and privilege through teaching, policy and practice. It is necessary for educators to develop the skills to engage in conversations about bias, race, and racism—especially their own. Understanding issues around race and ethnicity is a critical component of cross-racial skill building and is necessary in order to engage critically with the topic of race. All staff shall receive ongoing training about how to talk about race, racism and how racism produces inequitable practices and outcomes.

We believe in culturally-responsive schools

The District shall ensure that age-appropriate culturally-responsive curriculum and pedagogy are used to teach students about historical instances of systemic oppression related to white supremacy, racism, anti-Semitism, gender oppression, religious intolerance, anti-immigration sentiment, LGBTQIA+ discrimination and prejudice. This curriculum is not intended to cause students to feel personally responsible for harms of the past.  Instead, students should feel empowered with knowledge to connect choices made by others in the past to those choices they will confront in their own lives. 


For the purpose of Policy 1600, the following definitions will apply:

Anti-racism: the practice of identifying, challenging and changing the values, structures and behaviors that perpetuate systemic racism.

Discrimination in employment: (Federal - Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964): To refuse to hire any person, to bar any person from employment or treat unfairly in compensation or terms or conditions of employment because of age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, national origin, citizenship or immigration status, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification.

Discrimination in schools: (Federal - Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964): No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Discrimination in schools: (WA State - RCW 28A.642.010): Discrimination in Washington public schools is prohibited based on race, creed, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation including gender expression or identity, veteran or military status, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability.

Equity: Just and fair inclusion.  An equitable society is one in which all can participate and prosper. The goals of equity must be to create conditions that allow all to reach their full potential. 

Individual racism: pre-judgment, bias or discrimination by an individual based upon race. Individual racism includes both privately held beliefs, conscious and unconscious, and external behaviors and actions toward others.

Institutional racism: occurs within institutions and organizations, such as schools, that adopt and maintain policies, practices and procedures that often unintentionally produce inequitable outcomes for people of color and advantages for white people.

Racism: is a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race, resulting in the power to oppress or deny opportunities for one or more racial groups.

Structural or systemic racism: encompasses the history and current reality of institutional racism across all institutions and society. It refers to the history, culture, ideology and interactions of institutions and policies that perpetuate a system of inequity that is detrimental to communities of color.


3111 – Nondiscrimination and Equity
3112 – Social Emotional Learning 
3205 – Safety and Civility in Schools
3207 – Prohibition of Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying
3210 – Student Non-Discrimination
5207 - Safety and Civility in the Workplace
5265 – Staff Non-Discrimination
Title IX -42 USC §2000(d)
RCW Chapters     28A.640 and 28A.642 
RCW Chapter 392-190 WAC
RCW 49.60.180 


Adoption Date: 8/25/2022

  • 1600
  • 1610
  • School Board
  • anti-racism
  • board of directors
  • conflict of interest
  • policy
  • policy manual
  • purpose of the board