Inclusivity at Aspen High is a good thing

My name is Kayla Tehrani, I am a junior at Aspen High School, and I’ve been following the recent exchange in the papers about the optional equity survey that AHS students were asked to take in early April.

The definition of equity is very different from the definition of equality. Equity isn’t giving everyone the same resources to achieve success; it is giving everyone the resources they need to succeed. The survey was to give every student what they need, no matter what it is. It is important that this survey happens so that the school is able to get a gauge on how students are feeling in the school, and if they think they’re in a safe environment when at school.

I am a student from a Muslim country. I am a student that is part of the small minority group in the school. I am a student that isn’t like many of the AHS students. This survey was not just about race. This survey was not a target at students like me, or a way to make white students feel bad about being white. It was a purely data-based survey to get information, not to attack anyone.

The survey showed that height and weight had the greatest impact on students feeling isolated. That has nothing to do with race, age, sex, etc. This is something anyone, no matter how they look or how they identify, can relate to.

Because I come from Iran, people assume that I’m a terrorist. Although I do come from a Muslim country, the stereotype that all Iranians must be terrorists means that just being myself and people knowing where I come from becomes an issue.

I have been called a terrorist in school multiple times; I have been told to go back to Iran. Each and every time, the administration has my back and supports me with this ongoing issue. AHS is working toward being the most inclusive and welcoming school, and that is all the equity survey is about.

As a person of color, as someone who is a minority, I find surveys like this helpful in making the place that I am required to be — five days a week — a place that people would like to be, and somewhere students feel safe and comfortable going to. Some individuals are scared of the words “equity” and “equality,” and that is what is making the community a more exclusive place.

All of the hate and negativity toward AHS and the administration is uncalled for and unnecessary. Please stop attacking the school for trying to do something good.

Kayla Tehrani