NORTH BEND — Positive public service messages will soon be streaming in the hallways at North Bend High School.
The project was brainstormed by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, a group created as part of the 2018 settlement between the school district and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. The settlement surrounded former North Bend High School Principal Bill Lucero allegedly using the Bible as punishment on a student, as well as other allegations surrounding inaction to support LGBTQ students.
As The World reported in 2018 on the settlement, “Now the district is being required by (Oregon Department of Education) to … create a Diversity and Inclusion Committee to hold celebrations at the high school for 'Coming Out Day, Ally Week, and issue an annual diversity award.'"
NBHS Vice Principal Jake Smith said the committee recently came up with goals it wanted to accomplish this year, one of which was advertising public service messages on TVs throughout the school.
“Two monitors will be mounted in hallways,” Smith said, adding that the monitors will post information about events, clubs, and raise awareness on social issues.
The school newspaper, the Bulldog Blog, is going to be responsible for maintaining what is posted on the monitors.
“They will put up messages, do research on positive, cultural news, advertise jobs, internships and trivia,” Smith said.
The first monitor was mounted last Friday, Jan. 24, outside of freshman hall. The second will go up in the gym lobby.
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Since the diversity committee was formed a year and a half ago, it participated in scheduled trainings with Bridge 13, a community education program that shares knowledge and skills to build LGBTQ equity. The committee has gone on to create an annual diversity inclusion award, which was handed out to a student last year. Though both the award and training were requirements listed in the ACLU settlement, Smith said the next award will be given to a student nominated by other students.
“This year, we want to use the new monitors to have a QR code that students can hold their phone up to and get a PDF sheet to fill out and submit,” Smith said. “Anyone would have the ability to nominate someone for the annual award.”
The committee is also working on creating a common social space for students, but is still trying to decide on where it would be set up and how it would be supervised.
“It would be a common area, a presentation space where clubs and groups could meet and teachers could sign up to use,” Smith said. “It could be a place for kids to sit, hang out and relax. Right now we just have the cafeteria, hallways and classrooms and that’s it. There’s not a relaxing place for kids to just sit.”
The committee is open for any North Bend School District employee or North Bend resident. The next meeting is Monday, Feb. 3 at 3:15 p.m. in the NBHS library. To attend, email Smith at email@example.com.
“The next project on the agenda is a talent show,” he said. “Band and choir get a lot of notoriety, but we know there’s a lot of kids in our school with a lot of talent.”
Recently, he said his son participated in the Bay Area’s Got Talent event where he noticed the majority of the top 10 finalists were North Bend students.
“We want a talent show that showcases a broader spectrum of the school’s talents,” he said. “Schools used to do that, where everyone would show up. We’ve done something like it over the years, not a lot, but have had an assembly where kids do their thing so we will promote something like that to allow a diverse group of kids to showcase their talents.”