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NAACP calls on Seattle Public Schools to terminate superintendent’s contract

The NAACP held a press conference Tuesday calling on Seattle Public Schools to terminate the contract of Superintendent Denise Juneau. (KIRO 7)

Members of the NAACP and local community members spoke Tuesday, to call on the Seattle Public School District to terminate the contract of Superintendent Denise Juneau.

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A collection of teachers, NAACP leaders, and members of the NAACP Youth Council addressed members of the media, accusing Juneau of encouraging racist and sexist policies, and “purging” Black employees from leadership positions.

“She lacks vision, she lacks leadership, she does not want to be held accountable, and we have gone backwards,” NAACP Education Chair for Alaska, Oregon and Washington Rita Green said. “It’s just been a more racist environment in our district.”

“Denise Juneau does not serve our community, and in fact I don’t think she even cares about the Black community,” a local Seattle teacher added, noting that whereas previously there had been seven Black employees in leadership positions in SPS, there are now none.

Students on the NAACP Youth Council also accused Juneau of “tokenizing students on her student advisory board, which led to a majority of them leaving,” while claiming that “her strategic plan lacks emphasis on ethnic studies.”

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Seattle Public Schools sent out a press release shortly after Tuesday’s conference was announced, emphasizing what it says is an “unwavering commitment to racial justice in public education.” That includes bi-monthly meetings with NAACP Seattle-King County leadership, an increase in hiring of BIPOC teachers over the last three school years, and plans to launch a Black Studies course next semester.

NAACP leaders and student representatives took issue with many of those claims Tuesday, saying that Juneau has been dismissive of demands for more equity in staffing and education.

Juneau will be entering into the final year of her contract with Seattle Public Schools in 2021. Negotiations for a new contract will begin in December 2020.

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