4-State social justice coalition calls on Joplin School District to focus on diversity

Joplin School District Sign


JOPLIN, Mo. – Joplin for Justice has created a coalition with other 4-State groups dedicated to social justice including the Joplin NAACP, JOMO Pride, the Emancipation Celebration Committee, and more, and they’ve issued a call of action to the Joplin School District.

“A call to action that we hire a fulltime diversity, equity, and inclusion officer in Joplin schools,” said Joplin for Justice representative Dola Flake.

The groups that make up this coalition say the Joplin School District is becoming more diverse every year, and hiring a diversity, equity, and inclusion officer will help it adjust to student and staff needs.

“A diversity officer is going to have a very specific role targeting policies, practices, and even providing training to our staff and faculty, so really focused on making this an inclusive and welcoming environment in every way,” said Flake.

One of the reasons the Joplin NAACP is on board is because they feel similar hires in other cities have proven to be successful.

“This is a nationwide movement. It’s not just a Joplin movement. Hopefully the Joplin School Board is listening and they’ll take this step. And hopefully this will spread because it’s nothing but positive,” said Joplin NAACP President Victor Sly.

Joplin school representatives were unavailable for an interview but the district’s director of educational support pointed to the school’s social equity group at West Central Elementary saying, “Our goal is to scale our work more districtwide to focus not only on faculty and staff training but also looking at more effective ways we can attract and retain minority teachers and staff, and adjust our curriculum to be more inclusive of minority representation while examining minority student academic outcomes and social/emotional needs.”

Joplin for Justice says they haven’t received a response to their hiring request but says they plan to follow up.

Joplin for Justice representative Dola Flake also has a personal lawsuit against the Joplin School District that calls for the hiring of a diversity professional, but she says it is unrelated to the recent hiring request to the district made by Joplin for Justice and others.