New policy restricts BSM teachers from displaying forms of BLM advocacy


Brook Wenande

Although teachers were allowed to display Black Lives Matter materials last year, BSM has now prohibited this practice.

Dennis Draughn, BSM’s Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, and the school’s administration have recently proposed a new school policy that restricts teachers’ ability to wear and display all forms of Black Lives Matter paraphernalia.

With all of the recent social injustices, trials, and movements, some right here in the Twin Cities, there have been a lot of changes seen throughout BSM’s community. The administration’s newest decision is explained by Draughn as a means of creating conversive opportunities amongst students. He believes that teachers should facilitate students’ important conversations, rather than projecting their own biases. “The staff must be essentially the guides and navigators of these conversations rather than showcasing any type of political affiliation and I think it’s in the benefit of all students,” Draughn said.

The politicization of the phrase Black Lives Matter often sparks controversy, but Draughn and the administration don’t think of Black Lives Matter as solely a political statement. “Not to say Black Lives Matter is specifically a political statement or even Blue Lives Matter is specifically a political statement, but they do lean one way or another,” Draughn said.

The staff must be essentially the guides and navigators of these conversations rather than showcasing any type of political affiliation and I think it’s in the benefit of all students,

— Dennis Draughn

Draughn and administration, alike, want students to embrace and be proud of their opinions, yet school is often more widely enjoyable when focused on what brings everyone together as Red Knights, rather than exposing their differences. “I think it’s … within the student handbook that discusses that we are to be apolitical and not focus entirely on any division,” Draughn said.

As the EIB director, making sure that everyone feels like they belong is one of the most important parts of the job. In order to achieve this sense of community, Draughn wants students to try to connect with each other, no matter their differences. “You may come from a background, I may come from a background, but at the end of the day we are Red Knights, and we should be able to have a conversation regardless of what you believe, what I believe, and what the outside world forces us to focus on,” Draughn said.

In regards to the addition of the new policy, Draughn doesn’t want to create confusion amongst the students. He believes that as a Catholic school, students should focus more on their connection with faith. “As a black male, obviously I believe black lives matter, because I matter, but I do think that we need to have conversations together and I don’t want the school to be a force for political ideology. But more so, our ideology should be on how do we live through God, and we focus on charisms and how we focus on values as a Catholic school,” Draughn said.

Part of Draughn’s job is to mitigate and try to prevent possible setbacks surrounding equity, inclusion, and belonging as early on as possible. “I like to be proactive. I don’t like to put out fires, I like to prevent fires,” Draughn said.

For the first time in two years, the entire BSM student, staff, and administration body are back on campus. While much has changed in the past two years, both inside and outside of school, for better or worse, the Red Knight community has been given the chance to learn, grow, and above all, come closer than ever. “Let’s hit the reset button. Let’s have conversations on not how we can be divided, but how we can come together,” Draughn said.