Two Encinal students advocate for diversity in bandage choice

by Parke Treadway on March 4, 2021

At Menlo Park City School District’s February 25 School Board meeting, two Encinal third graders, Gabriel (pictured top) and Natalia (below, right), presented a request that MPCSD begin providing bandages in a variety of skin tones, to be inclusive of all students.

The students were introduced by Principal Sharon Burns and teacher Larra Olson, who referenced the Board’s Resolution to Create Anti-Racist Classrooms, Schools, and Communities. Putting this resolution into practice, the entire class decided to do something that would make all students feel seen and valued at school. They wrote letters to the board expressing the need for more inclusive practices in a specific area.

Reading a letter to the Board,  Gabriel said: “In class we read an article titled Band-Aid launches bandages to embrace the beauty of diverse skin. We also read the book, A Kids’ Book about Racism.  We talked about how this might make some people feel. We are learning about racism in my class and we noticed that there’s only one color bandaid for everyone. This one bandaid does not match my skin and maybe other people in my class.  I am the only Black person in my class, so I might not feel so good about my skin tone without a bandaid that matches me.”

Natalia added: “The school only has one type of band-aid color and because some people are different colors they feel bad sometimes. We need different kinds of bandaids because of different kinds of people who are special like us.”

District Nurse Lianne Jemelian thanked the students for their bravery in bringing this issue to the district’s attention. She has researched and found a variety of bandage colors that she recommends.

Superintendent Erik Burmeister and Board President Sherwin Chen let the students know that they will now be purchasing a variety of bandages and make them available to all students, so each child has choice and feels valued by their school.

President Chen thanked the students and urged them to never stop advocating for what they believe in and making a difference for themselves and others.

The School Board’s Resolution commits to examining how MPCSD’s policies and practices may contribute to white privilege and systemic racism, and to re-evaluating how what we teach and the environment we create can help create a more just and democratic society for all.


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