REVEALED: Missouri high school at center of viral beating controversy won DEI award, students failing basic skills tests

26 percent of students in the district are at a proficient level or better for reading, while just 11 percent of students met that level. 

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

The Hazelwood School District, which saw a female high school student brutally attacked by another last week, has been revealed to have received a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) award while students have been failing at testing in areas such as mathematics and reading.

The Hazelwood School District was awarded the North County Incorporated (NCI) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Award in 2022.

In a statement at the time, Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, Superintendent of HSD said, "The Board has spent many hours working to provide strong governance and support to the district and community in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This award recognizes the Board’s commitment to ensuring that our district respects and appreciates the diversity in our employees and students and provides an inclusive environment."

This was the second award the school district received for DEI, with the first coming in November of 2021 from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, with the school district receiving the Outstanding Government Achievement Award.

The district’s Racial Equity policy states that "Hazelwood School District acknowledges that complex, social and historical factors contribute to inequity within our school district."

Under the policy, the Board of Education is required to "evaluate the impact of every policy, procedure and practice through an equity lens."

The district stated that this policy stemmed from a "statement of solidarity" given after the death of George Floyd in 2020.

That statement says that "we all have a collective responsibility to fight against the ills of racism. The Hazelwood School District Board of Education stands in solidarity with the millions of Americans stepping forward in this fight. We stand with our community to say, 'enough is enough!’"

"The simple fact is that systemic racism is prevalent in our society, and the events happening today underscore the re-traumatization that occurs in the Black community whenever another father, husband, son or daughter dies unjustly. It’s unacceptable that our African American students, staff, and their families live with this fear on a daily basis. White supremacy, Black pain from systemic oppression, racial capitalism, and the choice of property over people is jeopardizing the future of this country and our children," the statement reads.

The district vowed to "Lean fully into the discomfort of racial healing required to build a just and equitable society for our children," push DEI trainings for staff members, "Recruit, hire, and promote a diverse staff," and "Reevaluate our relationship with school resource officers," among other points.

In 2021, Hazelwood School District wanted school resource officers to participate in DEI trainings. The police sent in a response that "we believe our officers receive training that is more than adequate and addresses the critical matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion."

The district wanted the contract for school resource officers to state that such officers "participate in a minimum of 10 hours per contract year of professional development on diversity, equity, and inclusion." The two could not come to an agreement, and the district does not have resource officers.

Niche, a company that creates school profiles and scores for prospective families based on testing scores, reviews, and other metrics, gives the Hazelwood School District an overall C minus grade.

26 percent of students in the district are at a proficient level or better for reading, while just 11 percent of students met that level. 

A Hazelwood East High School student, identified as Kailee, was brutally beaten by another juvenile on Friday. A 15-year-old female has been taken into custody in connection to the beating. 

Video showed a black teenage girl involved in the incident repeatedly hitting the head of the victim on the concrete, while others looked on and fought in the background.

The victim was taken to the hospital and is in critical condition after reportedly suffering head injuries. 

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