NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Public Education Department has announced that there is now a hotline open for students and community members to now report school-based incidents of racial bias. NMPED reports its Anti-Racism Anti-Oppression Hotline went live on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and reports can be submitted by calling or texting 1-800-717-4238, completing a form online, or by email at email@example.com.
The department states that the hotline can be used to report incidents of racism, injustice, or discrimination against anyone in a school setting, not just Black students. Those who call the hotline will reach a trained department employee from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Those calling after hours will be able to leave a message.
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The hotline, which is maintained by NMPED, is in compliance with the Black Education Act, legislation that took effect on July 1. Additionally, it also requires anti-racism policies in every district and state-chartered school, anti-racism training annual for all school staff, and an annual report on progress that’s sent to the governor and legislature. According to NMPED, in 2020, the four-year graduation rate for Black students in the state was 74% which was three points below the state average and seven points below the average for white students.
Deputy Secretary Vickie Bannerman explains that depending on the report received by the hotline, the caller will either be provided with additional resources or an investigation will be initiated. Three people have been hired to assist with this work including:
- A Black education liason who is developing a five-yera strategic plan for public elementary and secondary education of Black students
- A curriculum coordinator that works with the Higher Education Department to develop programs and instructional materials that recognize and teach Black culture and anti-racism
- A hotline manager
NMPED reports that the Black Education Advisory Council, which is also mandated by the legislation, met on Dec. 12 for the first time to review language in the Black Education Act and set priorities for advising the state on ways to improve academic and social outcomes for Black students. The Indian Education, Hispanic Education, and Bilingual Multicultural Education advisory councils already exist within the state.