District 127 Statement on Racial Equity and George Floyd Protests
The convergence of events that we are dealing with as a society has been unprecedented and unrelenting. We are still healing from the effects of the pandemic that has completely interrupted our school year, to include the activities, events, and milestones that we use to honor our students and their families. That pandemic is still very much active, and we still need to ensure that we are being mindful of the health of our community.
As a district, we want to express our grief surrounding the death of George Floyd, as well as the unjust deaths of so many other black men and women in our country. The nation is angry, confused, and sad. Our students are naturally trying to process their feelings and determine the best way to express their sadness and anger. As a human being, so am I. But today we stand with our black students and their families, and families grieving everywhere.
Our District 127 schools are more than a place where information is conveyed to students. Our schools are a community where we support each other and learn from each other. However, these tragic events must serve as a reminder that we still have much work to do in creating more inclusive environments – for our students, our community, our nation, and our world.
We have a responsibility to reject hate, discrimination, and intolerance of any form.
We have a responsibility to foster empathy and kindness, and not just foster it. We have a responsibility to teach it. And model it. And live it.
We have a responsibility to build and maintain a community where our youth can learn acceptance and belonging.
We have tried to further the conversation about race in District 127, and improve our response to the needs of students of color. We recognize we can do better, we can listen better, and are actively working to better serve our whole community.
We are working on directly teaching and promoting anti-racism as a staff through training and professional development. In addition, we are updating our classroom materials to make sure what we provide to students is both a window and a mirror. In other words, students should engage in materials that allow them to understand the lived experience of others, that’s the window, and that’s how we help build empathy. And understanding. They should also see themselves and people like them represented as well. That’s the mirror Furthermore, we are examining our hiring practices to ensure that we attract the best teachers in the world, and those that reflect our student body and the community.
So, let’s get back to the immediate situation. Right now, our students are confused, angry and sad. First and foremost, our schools are here to support our students. If students need to process their thoughts and emotions, we encourage them to contact their school counselors, deans, social workers, administrators, or any trusted teacher or adult. We will listen. In addition, Text-A-Tip is a 24/7 anonymous support for students who need help for themselves or a friend, available as a resource to anyone who is struggling with concerns related to fear, anxiety, and isolation. Text-A-Tip has added clinicians on call for all lines and all hours of the day, and is currently answering texts in under 3 minutes. Text HELLO to 1-844-823-5323 to connect with a trained counselor. Asking for help or needing to connect is never a sign of weakness. I encourage anyone reading this to reach out as needed.
On a personal note, I cannot express how proud I am to be a part of this district and this community. We will keep moving forward and keep learning. Thank you all.
Superintendent, Grayslake High School District 127