Kunsmiller Creative Arts Middle

KCAA Anti-Racist Disciplinary Letter to Families

10/24/23, 3:27 PM

Dear KCAA community,


In recent weeks, our community has seen an increase across all grade levels, K-12, in students using language that is not merely inappropriate but prejudiced and racially charged. We here at Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy acknowledge the complicated history of the American Education system and its relationship with marginalized communities. As a result, we are committed to growing and doing better. We can only achieve this with your help.

We recognize that we can’t control what our students are exposed to outside our building. However, we can work to grow as an inclusive community and create a culture of respect and kindness. Here are some things we are doing at school as a response :

  • Having age-appropriate restorative conversations around the language being used with the students involved

  • Using the Social Emotional Curriculum, Upstream, to develop social intelligence in our students

  • Co-creating class norms and rules with students to share ownership of our community

By this point in the year, our educators have communicated to their classes that racist, misogynist, xenophobic, sexist, ableist, and homophobic language is unacceptable here at KCAA. Even when someone is part of a marginalized community or identifies as a member of a marginalized group, using any slur is forbidden.

According to the  DPS Discipline matrix, the use of such language is considered a Type 3 Offense:

  • “Harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, immigration/citizenship status, ancestry, age, veteran status, disability, or genetic information of an employee or applicant for employment: Level II, see Board Policy AC.”

  • “Harassment based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, transgender status, or pregnancy, parenting, or marital status (sexual harassment): Level II, see Board Policy AC.”

The DPS discipline matrix recommends that for such offenses, “In School Suspension of 0-3 days or one day Out of School Suspension with no more than 1 day ISS if 1 day OSS” for grades ECE-3rd as well as for grades 4-12. Our goal is that, whenever possible, students can remain in school, and we will work with families and counselors to ensure that consequences are equitably applied. Going forward, considering that we have provided mediation, restorative conversations, whole group presentations, and expectation setting, we are beyond warnings. We will move forward following the DPS discipline matrix with students who continue to repeat these offenses. 


We also support students and other community members who have been victims of verbal violence.  Here are some resources we provide:

  • One-on-one counseling with our mental health professionals

  • One-on-one counseling with our restorative practices coordinators

  • Grounding techniques and other strategies to process feelings of sadness, frustration, and anger. All these feelings are justified when one has been the victim of verbal violence or microaggressions. To prevent the escalation of physical violence, we work with students to process these emotions. 

  • Meetings with our administrators or Dean of Culture whenever students feel comfortable so that they can share their experiences and what they need to feel safe in our community. Our Administrative team has been trained in restorative and trauma-informed practices and brings together former educators with decades of experience in and out of DPS. We are Mixed, Latinx, Brown, Indigenous, and Mestizo, and many of us are no strangers to being on the receiving end of these experiences. As such, we approach these situations with empathy from personal experience.  We are also aware that even within marginalized communities, colorism and racism still exist, so we are committed to actively building an anti-racist community. 

  • Once we are made aware of a situation involving slurs or verbal violence, we communicate with the families of the students involved.


Here is where you come in. Please speak with your child about the gravity of using slurs and the disciplinary consequences of using such language here at KCAA. You can visit The Center for Racial Justice for resources on having these types of conversations with children. If you need additional support, please contact your child’s teacher, our Dean of Culture, Elina Medina, or our Administrative team. DPS also offers family resources through FACE. If you have feedback or ideas, please share them with our KCAA staff. We have a long way to go and can only get there together. Thank you for your support in making KCAA a safe and anti-racist space for our students and all community members.


In Solidarity, 


Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy Administration

Attachment: 16981827216057_KCAA_Anti-Racist_Community_letter.docx_1