May 5, 2022 - News

Slurs are "pressing concern" at Ankeny schools, audit finds

Illustration of a graduation cap but the tassel is a ladder.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Ankeny schools excel overall in graduation and attendance rates.

Yes, but: A diversity audit conducted in late 2021, and released this week, shows that the rapidly growing district is also facing some challenges with helping marginalized students feel welcome, the Des Moines Register reports.

State of play: Some Black students, English language learners and students with disabilities said they don't feel emotionally safe in their schools, according to the audit.

  • Racial and anti-LGBTQ slurs were a "pressing concern," teachers and students reported.
  • Black students were also disproportionately referred for discipline. While they make up only 3% of Ankeny's student body, 6% are referred for disruptions and 20% for harassment.

What's next: The audit will be used to help the school board and district officials create a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy, which will be voted on this month.

  • A part of that is hiring a diversity specialist — a position that was previously pulled off the Ankeny school board agenda pending the results of the audit.

Go deeper: Ankeny students hear slurs at school, do not feel emotionally safe, new audit finds


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