Dr. Barnes' Statement On Racial Injustice
We are brokenhearted and saddened over the senseless death of George Floyd. Mr. Floyd’s death, and many like his before, is a painful reminder of the systemic racism that still persists across so many of our nation's institutions and society as a whole. We stand in solidarity with the fight against racial injustice.
However, we do not condone violence. We are committed to promoting a culture of respect, tolerance, and inclusion for all people. Our District is composed of students of all colors and creeds who come from more than 25 countries. Each of them deserves a future free of societal injustices that may impede them from reaching their greatest potential.
We all must be united in ensuring that justice, dignity, and respect for all are pillars of our value system. This unity is absolutely necessary. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Each of us must challenge ourselves to be part of the solution. To stand by idle is to perpetuate the problem.
As a public school system, it is our obligation to provide equity in education to every single student. We are blessed to have a Board, administration and staff that are focused on educating the whole child, with an emphasis on empathy and compassion. However, we can do better. We promise to examine our own practices that may have implicit biases embedded within them.
We commit to being a partner in problem-solving and finding creative solutions and strategies to ensure that the words equity and justice are not just hollow platitudes, but truths that our students can count on moving forward.
As we all struggle with life during a once-a-century pandemic, with a struggling economy that has disproportionately harmed communities of color, and now nationwide protests on top of it, talking with our children about the state of our nation and the injustices that many of our fellow citizens face is more important than ever.
I encourage us to stand in solidarity against acts of racism, disrespect, and inequitable treatment of all people. We must all take a stand against racism. Let this be the moment when our children some day look back and say, this is when we stood together for change.
Sincerely, Dr. Michael Barnes Superintendent
Below are some resources we hope you find helpful:
How to talk to your children about protests and racism
George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. What do we tell our children?
Talking to Kids About Racism and Justice (books, websites, articles):