Timeline of Events
After the political events of the summer of 2020, the Pembroke Hill School administration made many changes at our school. The following is an incomplete compilation of those changes and related events. All of the following information has been provided by Pembroke Hill parents, students or taken from Pembroke’s website. Please feel free to send us any other information that will contribute to a better understanding of these events.
- Head of school Brad Shelly sent the following two emails to the Pembroke Hill community. Link to Brad Shelly’s June 3, 2020 and June 23, 2020 emails
- Sometime between June 3, 2020 and June 23, 2020 a letter/email was sent to Brad Shelly by some Pembroke Hill alumni allegedly demanding changes be made at Pembroke Hill regarding anti-racism, racial diversity, racial equity, etc. This letter/email is unavailable.
- Pembroke Hill hired Sophic Solutions, LLC a “change management and consulting firm”. Please see www.sophicsolutionsgroup.com.
Among other primary goals in their “WHERE WE STAND STATEMENT”, Sophic Solutions states: “Vote for people, policies, and practices that support equity”, “Always ask, ‘What are the identity implications?’ when making decisions”, and “Donate to efforts that, ongoingly, support and produce race equity and beyond in your community”. For the full WHERE WE STAND STATEMENT please see www.sophicsolutionsgroup.com
- Sophic Solutions presented a power point “A Community Conversation” to the Pembroke Hill community which among other things encourages “Unpacking your privilege”, “Participate in Reparations”, “Decolonize Your Bookshelf”, adopts the concept of 1619 as the beginning of US history, promotes shopping at black owned businesses and promotes use of the term “White Privilege”. Link to Sophic Solutions’ Community Conversations document
- An incident occurred at Pembroke Hill which led to the termination of a teacher. Please see: www.dailywire.com/news/missouri-math-teacher-dismissed-following-private-conservative-facebook-posts (Upper School Principal Mike Hill quoted in the article as saying “The whole colorblind thing … is driving me crazy. Because I think it’s very dangerous.”)
- First meeting of the Pembroke Hill Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Council. Members of the current DEI Advisory Council:
Jamie Allen, Co-Chair, PHS Parent, Trustee
Danny O’Neill, Co-Chair, PHS Parent, Trustee
Bill Gautreaux, PHS Parent, Former Trustee
Maya Hill ’16 Alum
Billie Howard Barnes, Lower School Fifth Grade Teacher
Ari Jean-Baptiste, PHS Parent
Jeanette Jones, Upper School Social Studies Teacher
Michael Jones, Lower School Fourth Grade Teacher
Vicki McReynolds, PHS Parent, Trustee
Brian Scharf, ’95 PHS Parent, Alum
- Quoted from Pembroke Hill’s website: “DEI Assessment Conversations launched. Through conversation with students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff, the assessment is providing opportunities for a candid, independent review of the current state of DEI experiences/issues within our school. Sophic Solutions is obtaining feedback from persons who have offered to share their experiences as well as community members selected at random.” Please see: www.pembrokehill.org/about-us/commitment-to-diversity
No further details are known related to the DEI Assessment.
- An incident related to the defacing of a 2020 election poster occurred at Pembroke Hill. Link to article from the Pembroke Hill Voice
- Quoted from Pembroke Hill’s website: “Hosted first Start, Stop, Continue and Consider discussion. During this session, participants shared their thoughts concerning activities Pembroke Hill should start, stop, continue and consider doing to become a more equitable and inclusive school for all.” www.pembrokehill.org/about-us/commitment-to-diversity. No further details are known related to the Start, Stop, Continue and Consider discussion session.
- Six upper school students and three faculty members attended the virtual Student Diversity Leadership Conference and the People of Color Conference, respectively. Both events were sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). For more details of NAIS please see: www.nais.org. More specifically please see:
www.nais.org/learn/independent-ideas/november-2019/a-white-anti-racist-educator-looks-back-on-her-racial-socialization/ “Like most white folks I was taught that “those racist people” are the problem, and if we could just get rid of them, racism would disappear. I now know that it’s not that simple and that racism is a complex, self-perpetuating system of individual and institutional policies and practices that has been justified by a racial ideology of white supremacy that all of us, (yes, even us good people) have internalized. When race scholars use the term “white supremacy” they are not just referring to white nationalists or the Ku Klux Klan. They are referring to a broader society wide ideology and culture that supports systemic racism in the United States.”
- Pembroke created the position of Diversity Equity and Inclusion Director and commenced the search process.
- All faculty/staff participated in a required Diversity, Equity and Inclusion professional development training led by Sophic Solutions and Jewish Community Relations Bureau/AJC. No known information on this DEI training is available.
- The Kansas City Star publishes two articles related to a swastika found drawn on a student desk. Link to KC Star articles dated February 1, 2021 and February 2, 2021
- The following presentation was given to Pembroke Hill parents by Upper School Principal Mike Hill, Leslie Berger, Upper School Counselor and Upper School English Teacher Jermaine Thompson. Please note section presented by Jermaine Thompson starting at the 21 minute 15 second mark, specifically his comment on “Critical Theory”. Link to Mike Hill, Leslie Berger and Jermaine Thompson February 2021 Presentation
- The results of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Assessment, conducted by Sophic Solutions, were shared with the Pembroke Hill Board of Trustees. The status of the school’s DEI work was “explored in depth” (quoted from Pembroke’s website) at the March Trustee meeting. No further known information is available about this DEI Assessment.
- Jewish Community Relations Bureau/AJC presented programs to lower school, middle school and upper school students. For general information please see: jcrbajc.org. No known information on the programs presented is available.
- Pembroke Hill held an Understanding Contemporary Antisemitism virtual session. No known information on this virtual session is available.
- Pembroke Hill hosted a second Start, Stop, Continue and Consider session, which was facilitated by the PHS DEI Advisory Council and Sophic Solutions. No known information on this session is available.
- The Kansas City Star publishes two articles about the symbol “KKK” written on a student desk at Pembroke Hill. Link to KC Star articles dated April 6, 2021 and April 7, 2021
- Pembroke Hill hired Jason Gines, Pembroke Hill Class of 1995, as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director. His appointment is effective for the 2021-22 school year.
- The Pembroke Hill Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council presented its recommendations, which were based on the group’s work during 2020-21, to the Board of Trustees. No known DEI Advisory Council recommendations are unavailable.
- Pembroke Hill “joined a partnership with School Smart KC in the second Equity in Schools Cohort with Beloved Community” (Quoted from Pembroke Hill’s website. For more details please see: www.wearebeloved.org. More specifically please see: www.wearebeloved.org/black-lives-matter: “We recommend doing this in racial identity caucuses: one for white staff, one for Black staff, and one for non-Black People of Color.” www.wearebeloved.org/blog/2021/11/26/decentering-mythology-and-consumerism “Thanksgiving itself is part of American mythology. As a child, you may have heard this story, one centered on white kindness and “pilgrims and indians” gathered together in harmony over dinner. However, the real history of the holiday, like much of this country’s past, describes the violence of white supremacy and colonization.” www.wearebeloved.org/blog “Whiteness, America’s Favorite Character. Not too long after sharing our sentiments on fictional characters, one of America’s many infamous white supremacists was the main character (more appropriately, main villain) of his own trial. As I absorbed the images of Kyle Rittenhouse in court and in Kenosha, the only thing I saw in his face was hate. Hate that drives fear. Hate that drives violence. And underneath that hate was personal bias and prejudice coupled with a policing and judicial system focused on protecting the delusion of whiteness instead of holding a murderer accountable.”
- Pembroke Hill has created the following “diversity recruitment statement” that is now added to all employment openings:
“Pembroke Hill School is committed to a culture that advances diversity, equity, and inclusion. We serve students from diverse backgrounds and seek to hire a diverse faculty and staff. This includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, divers-ability, religion, spirituality, socioeconomic status and national identity. Applicants must be committed to and passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion to contribute to academic success with inclusive excellence. Our aspirations include fostering the development of a school community that cultivates cultural humility. We promote self awareness, knowledge of cultural and intellectual diversity and a willingness to advocate for others.” www.pembrokehill.org/about-us/commitment-to-diversity
- Jason Gines hosted two conversations with Pembroke Hill parents (one virtual and one in person) to “become better acquainted with the school community and to learn how best to serve our students.” (Quoted from Pembroke Hill’s website). No further known information on these conversations is available.
- The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council changed name to the Diversity, Belonging, Inclusion and Equity (DBIE) Council. The DBIE Council reviewed the DBIE Statement.
- The following article was published in the Pembroke Hill Voice.
- 9th Grade English Class curriculum with assigned youtube videos:
- Board of Trustees reached consensus on DBIE Statement. No further known information is available on the DBIE Statement.
- The book “Lily and Dunkin” was reported as being taught to Pembroke Hill 7th grade students. Please see book review: https://transteacher.wordpress.com/2020/06/07/book-review-lily-and-dunkin/
- The following article was published in the Pembroke Hill Voice:
- The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council continues to meet regularly.
- The DEI Advisory Council, in conjunction with Jason Gines, is hosting additional community conversations with students, recent graduates and parents. Jason Gines has stated that he is compiling all of the DEI information gathered and preparing recommendations to be presented in January 2022. No further known information on these recommendations is available.
- Quarterly professional learning DEI programs for faculty and staff are scheduled for the 2021-22 school year. No further known information regarding these programs is available.
- Pembroke Hill continues to participate in the Equity in Schools Cohort with Beloved Community.
- Pembroke Hill continues to participate with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Please see: https://www.pembrokehill.org/dei-updates/~board/dei/post/faculty-and-students-attend-nais-people-of-color-conferences
- Pembroke Hill’s “diversity, belonging, inclusion and equity planning is underway in consort (sic) with the Pembroke Hill strategic plan.” (Quoted from Pembroke’s website.) No further known information is available regarding this planning.
- “An interdivisional committee is being convened to review and create a list of resources that will be made available to our constituent groups including parents, students and faculty/staff.” (Quoted from Pembroke’s website.) No further known information is available regarding this committee.