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Report: Carlton isn't meeting native students' needs

Carlton schools are not doing enough to meet the needs of its Native American students, according to a report and resolution of non-concurrence issued by the Carlton Local Indian Education Committee (LIEC).

The report, presented by Carlton First Nations Coordinator Everett LaFromboise, outlines places where the LIEC feels Carlton schools have not met the needs of Native American students. It makes several recommendations to help the school become more responsive to those needs.

The LIEC requested the district budget $60,000 per year to the First Nations program and for the district to hire a "First Nations-specific" special education paraprofessional.

The report also asks for more cultural awareness training for the staff; a bigger, more centrally located room in the school; adding a smudging policy to the district handbook; involving the First Nationals coordinator in all disciplinary practices for Native American students; and adding a "Land Acknowledgment" to the opening of all school events that also begin with the national anthem or Pledge of Allegiance.

LaFramboise acknowledged the district's current financial difficulties, emphasizing that, in his opinion, the most important and cost-effective actions involved staff training.

Currently, staff have a 45-minute training session before school begins each year. The report suggested the school double the initial training time to 90 minutes and have additional 45-minute training sessions following the first and third quarters of the school year.

"I realize that with the situation the district is in, some of these might not be fully possible at this time," LaFramboise told the Carlton School Board on Monday, April 15. "But I would really like to push the training and cultural competency of all the staff members because I have to report what I perceive personally ... there are some teachers in the school building who I feel like they need more cultural experiences, more cultural competency, more training because of how they can't even talk to me.

"They don't know what to say; they don't know how to act; they never had a conversation with somebody as different from them as I am."

Carlton has 60 days to respond to the LIEC report.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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