On Monday, a school district located in southern Minnesota voted to accept a $1.1 million state grant. The funds will be used to stop students from marginalized backgrounds from using drugs.
However, it almost didn’t happen after two board members claimed by taking the money meant for students of colors, white students would be discriminated against.
Board Member Richard Olson didn’t argued that the grant “does not help all students.” According to The Minneapolis Star Tribune, only one member of the Faribault school board voted against taking the money on Monday. The board consists of seven people.
Olson also anticipated this outcome. “This will pass. I know that. But it does not have my support,” he stated. Last month, four of the board’s members were deadlocked in a vote after he and a fellow member stated that programs aimed particularly at students of color—despite the racial and economic equality they experience on a daily basis—leaves out white students.
About 73% of Faribault is white. However, it also contains a vital Black and Latino population. In addition, more than 60% of the school district’s students are of color. In fact, it was a mother of color who essentially gave the district the idea to apply for the grant in the first place.
A mother from the city’s Somali population expressed her concerns about drug use in her community last summer. She was worried about how this epidemic was affecting that particular group of young people.
Shortly after, the district applied for the grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Before Monday’s outcome, Superintendent Jamie Bente encouraged board members to accept the grant.
“I will go for any grant that helps any student. And if it leaves out a certain group, then we will look for money to help that group as well,” he stated.