DEI Program Launched

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are the three main focus of the new DEI program. To find out about the program we conducted an in-depth interview with Ursula Chan, the program’s coordinator.


Dare Fitzpatrick

Our school is constantly striving for perfection—excellent teachers and academics, a balance between school and play for students, and a sense of belonging for every community member.

Laguna is an exceptional establishment, however, students have expressed concerns regarding a lack of appropriate education on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

An Instagram account called “Dear Laguna,” dedicated to “uplifting and amplifying voices of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized groups at Laguna Blanca School” was introduced to the community on July 13.

There are 45 posts and 255 followers. The anonymous account managers share posts that showcase anonymous quotes from students or alumni who share their experiences.

One post shares, “Laguna is advertised in a way that makes it look picture perfect with the ‘all-inclusive’ and ‘all welcoming’ environment. As someone in the LGBTQ+ community, I can tell you that this isn’t all true in any form.”

Other posts are similar to this regarding disparities in economic status, race, and other topics.

This account aims to spread awareness to students, faculty, staff, and board members of individuals’ difficulties due to circumstances they feel they cannot control.

In response to these posts, Laguna created an initiative, the DEI program, for high school students that addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Spanish instructor and DEI Coordinator Ursula Chan created and oversees the new program. “My long-term goal is to develop restorative and transformative justice procedures for all members of the community so that we can practice accountability as part of our school culture.”

[The goal of the program is to] “ensure that all members of the community are safe, successful, valued, included and that they leave with a strong understanding of the world outside of their own.”

Chan shared how important she feels this initiative is for the benefit of all students, saying she wants to “be the person on campus who [she] needed when [she] was in K-12. [She] needed someone to tell [her], ‘Yeah, what you just experienced was racism. You’re not overreacting. How can I help you address this?’ It is important to [see] yourself represented in people who occupy leadership positions.”

There are things that each of us can do to make Laguna a more welcoming, inclusive and ultimately accepting environment for the benefit of everyone in our community.

Chan shares some simple changes that we, as a community, can make to support diversity, equity, and inclusion:

1. Offer your pronouns when you introduce yourself.

2. Use gender-neutral language ALWAYS ex: “Good morning, students” and “Y’all have five minutes until we switch!”

3. Actively seek out ways you can better inform yourself on these topics (podcasts, books, documentaries).

4. Be ok with not getting it right the first time and know-how to initiate repair if harm was caused.

5. Allow yourself and others to grow and change your/their mind in the same conversation.

Easy yet effective changes like these are things that students, teachers and all community members can and should incorporate into daily life for respect and consideration towards marginalized groups at the school. Making all community members feel safe, included and comfortable at school is the utmost priority for the DEI program.