Subject: Communication and Resources in Times of Tragedy
June 2, 2020
Dear Weston Families,
Many of us have been deeply troubled by the recent events happening in our country. In this letter, I want to share and add to the statement I made at the School Committee Meeting yesterday evening and in part wrote to faculty and staff last evening:
The recent, tragic killings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd that have triggered peaceful and violent protests across America and have left many including myself outraged. We in the Weston Schools are deeply saddened by these tragedies and are committed as a school system to denounce words or actions of hate in any form. We make a commitment to each other and to our students that we embrace and celebrate diversity in all its configurations and that there is only room for respect and acceptance for all — no matter one’s race, religious beliefs, political ideology, sexuality or gender identification. Weston Public Schools must remain a safe haven for all who cross the thresholds of our schools, in any capacity.
While we are in this time of COVID where our black and brown families have been disproportionately impacted and Asian/Asian American families have been unfairly targeted in hurtful and racist ways, we must come together. Complicated by being socially isolated and racial tensions running high across the country, we, as a school community, must think first about our children and their future. In the short term, it is important to help our students process these events, answer their very difficult questions as best we can, and assure them that they are safe and cared for. This week and next, our middle and high school social studies teachers — as well as a number of other educators — will hold discussions to help our secondary students work through issues of violence, racism, protest, and government response as they pertain to recent current events. Elementary educators will be alert for students who feel troubled and guidance counselors in all schools are ready to speak to students about their feelings and worries. All of us will continue to emphasize our care during this difficult time so students feel safe and have a sense of belonging.
In the long term, schools can make a big difference by educating and empowering our young people to do their part in shaping a better society. We have a moral imperative to teach in a way that promotes equity among all students and dismantles any systems of oppression that stand in the way. We will be reaffirming our commitment to active anti-racism, educational equity, inclusive and culturally responsive teaching practices, and courageous conversations about race. As we plan next steps, our strategic plan, focusing on academic excellence, educational equity, and social and emotional well-being, will guide our efforts. We invite your partnership and support as we do our part to care and educate our children with the eye toward building a more equitable, just, inclusive America.
Weston High School students Bella Simmons and Alton Jenkins are organizing a march tomorrow beginning at 10:00 on the town green in protest of the killing of George Floyd, as well as in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. I plan to attend along with other educators. If you plan to attend as well, please follow social distancing guidelines.
Finally, below is a link to resources that may be helpful to you as you communicate with and support your children during these troubled times.
Wishing you all good health and safety,
Dr. Marguerite (Midge) Connolly