Long-Term Benefits of Talking about Inclusivity

Ruhi Kaneria | The Chronicle

Inclusivity is a term that has spearheaded many conversations in the past years, from executive board meetings to the sphere of Mason High School (MHS). Here, students and staff work to facilitate conversations of inclusion and belonging with the aid of the diversity, inclusion, and equity (DEI) principles. By using diversity, equity, and inclusion as focus points, MHS works to create a space where all students feel welcomed and supported. 

To some students, these conversations may be just another ‘pledge’ that the school is making to some lofty goal. 

But to many students, these conversations are vital to their education and development throughout their high school years. For students with disabilities, development issues, and different socioeconomic backgrounds, it ensures that they will be welcome in spaces, a right that every student is entitled to. According to Mason City Schools Inclusive Excellence website, “every child deserves to believe that they belong in our schools, and that their learning community cares about them.” These goals have been carried out through teams like IE and clubs such as the Muslim Student Association (MSA), Hindu Student Association (HSA) and the Black Student Union (BSU) which work to create a student support system. There are also a handful of  community wide events like Taste of Mason and Window & Mirrors celebrations which help people share their stories and culture. 

But these conversations of inclusion can impact a Comet beyond MHS. 

Having grown up in a school system that focuses on inclusion, students are better equipped to advocate for inclusive measures in college and at work. Having worked alongside students that are different from themselves, they are better equipped to collaborate with colleagues from different backgrounds and empower diverse voices to speak up. Rather than relying on a short diversity training to encourage an inclusive mindset, MHS students in the real world can facilitate these conversations in an authentic setting. 

Inclusive settings not only make students more prepared for the extremely diverse world, but it also makes them more aware of all cultures, more empathetic to people that are different to them, and more open-minded to a diverse range of perspectives. At the end of the day, it is crucial to realize that the lessons of inclusivity learned at MHS can lead to a whole shift in acceptance and empowerment in the community.