“My fellow classmates and I were frustrated with the harassment concerning race, religion, and sexual orientation at our school. I was tired of the hateful atmosphere and decided to take action by forming a SPIRIT Council to create a safe environment for all students.”
Discrimination based on race, culture, religion, and sexual orientation is all too prevalent in high schools across America. After witnessing firsthand the detrimental effects of harassment at his own high school, Max Astrachan founded Student Problem Identification and Resolution of Issues Together (SPIRIT) Council. SPIRIT addresses discrimination by organizing diversity programs, school-wide assemblies and trainings, revising policy, changing curriculum, and networking with other diversity groups across the country to create models for ending discrimination. Since founding SPIRIT, there has been significant reduction in discrimination incidents within Max’s own high school of 3,000+ students, policies have been updated in the local district handbook regarding the use of welcoming language, and SPIRIT has received national attention for its inclusion model, informing other districts across the country. SPIRIT is looking towards expanding programming into elementary and middle schools to begin addressing discrimination at an earlier age.