• By Gary Weckselblatt

    The Quakertown Community School Board voted unanimously Thursday night to spend $31,212 to take part in a system-wide diversity and inclusion initiative with the Pearl S. Buck Foundation.

    As part of the program, the foundation will assess 400 employees as part of "The Welcome Workplace" program, in which professional trainers and staff will work with the district leadership and stakeholders to build individual and group intercultural competency.

    “There’s talking about a racial issue. There’s hoping that we get better. Pearl Buck is a step in actually doing something to get better with racial issues,” Board President Paul Stepanoff said. “It’s an examination from the adults on down. We’re looking forward to administering it.”

    Before the vote, in describing the program, Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner said "It’s got to be thoughtful, and it’s got to be long-term."

    Approximately $20,000 of the cost will be handled in the 2017-18 budget, and the remainder in 2018-19.

    Also at the meeting was Strayer Middle School Principal Derek Peiffer, who said that inside the school "We're having a lot of good conversations ... making a positive out of a negative situation."

    Peiffer said Strayer students created a video and sent it to the Cheltenham High School cheerleaders to apologize for the racial comments directed toward them following a recent football game at Alumni Field.

    Strayer student government officials and other school groups took part in the three-minute video, in which they apologized for the incident, and said what happened was wrong. The students said the Strayer community is respectful and caring and concluded by again apologizing.

    Gary Weckselblatt, director of communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at gweckselblatt@qcsd.org and 215-529-2028.