Dear members of the Hebrew Public community,
Most of us have been struggling to process what has been happening in our country in the days since the protests and violence in Charlottesville. Personally, I have struggled for a week now to put pen to paper, knowing that it is still summer vacation for our students, and that our teachers do not return to work until today. Among other things, I am keenly aware that it is rarely appropriate for a public school organization’s leader to make what might be considered political statements.
I don’t believe, however, that what I am about to say is a political statement so much as a moral one. A society, a government, a community, and a public school can reflect many divergent ideas. Schools, even for young children, should be places that encourage discourse and debate.
But there should be no debate about the merits of hatred. There should be no debate, no endorsement, and no tolerance for beliefs that claim superiority of one race or ethnicity or religion over others. Creating room for different views is not the same as creating room for the expressions of hatred, of racism, of anti-Semitism, of xenophobia that have been on increasing display in our country.
Hebrew Public’s schools are “diverse-by-design.” They are schools for everyone – from every background. The community we try to create is one in which students are exposed to difference and taught to appreciate it. It is one in which diversity of language, culture and religion are celebrated. We strive to teach empathy and understanding, developing in our students skills of communication and partnership that are keys to the future.
We will stick to our mission, to our commitments to both academic excellence and global citizenship. We will reinforce our commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion for all of our students, families, and staff members.
When I visit our schools, I see a hoped-for future. Charlottesville and its aftermath show us that this future is not guaranteed – that it requires vigilance, effort, and moral courage to attain. We will do everything we can to ensure that all of the children in our care reach that future successfully and together.