Dear Frontier Regional and School Union #38 Families,
Upon communicating with various members of our community and reflecting on the letter and resources that were sent out last Thursday, we would like to correct some mistakes made and to expand upon some ideas shared.
In that letter we stated: “Our school district continues to commit to our shared values that diversity is a strength and an asset; every individual has equal human value; and that a secure and safe environment and peaceful conflict resolution are essential to learning and to society. We will continue to build social justice training for our staff as we connect with our students, discuss real world problems and multiple perspectives, and create classroom communities.”
The District commits to ongoing social justice training and growth. We acknowledge the systemic racism that exists in our society's policies and institutions. We recognize that the prevailing homogeneity in our district leadership team has left out the voices and experiences of our community members of color and failed to provide support and acknowledgment of the stress, grief, and trauma that people of color are living with because of recent events as well as throughout our nation's racist history. We acknowledge these mistakes/omissions and want to express our commitment to learning, growing, and becoming an actively antiracist community. We understand that the only way to undo racism in our society is to consistently identify, describe, and dismantle the systemic racism embedded within it. We pledge to support anti-racism policy through action and seek transformative change in our system.
In addition, the letter that was sent out to the community last week stated: “Our community leaders will determine the best way for us to engage in this important mission as we continue to move forward. We feel a deep sense of responsibility and recognize that we must be allies, to stand together, and we must stand alongside you.”
We recognize that the burden of teaching our predominantly white community about racism must not fall on the shoulders of community members of color, nor should the onus of that action lie at the feet of those who have benefited from white privilege. Rather, we must understand how white community members and those of color bring different frames of reference to the crucial work of creating a path towards an antiracist society. We must bring these different perspectives together to heal. We want our families of color to know that we are allies in this predominantly white school district and that all of our students of color are respected and important members of our learning community.
I know that many of you are seeking specifics regarding our course of action. We are and remain steadfast in engaging in self-reflection and looking critically at our curriculum, professional development, and school culture. We know that we cannot do this alone. We have initiated a Committee on Anti-Racism and Equality, which will organize a district-wide group of faculty, students, families, and community members to actively guide us in dismantling systemic racism in our community. The committee will be charged with creating an outline of the work that will be needed to move forward and will provide community updates.
In closing, we share our alignment with the National Education Association’s pledge: “As Educators and Allies, we will work to address inequalities that result from institutionally racist policies and practices in our schools and communities in which our students live. We choose not to accept the conditions as they exist, but accept the responsibility for changing them.”
Let this be our transformative moment.
Thank you for your ongoing communication and support.
Darius Modestow, Superintendent of Schools
Representing Frontier Regional/ Union #38 Administrative Team
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay