June 30, 2020
It is with distress that I share an incident that was brought to our attention last night where a CCHS student posted racist and homophobic comments on social media. As we stated previously and will continue to state, this is unacceptable. The family and police were notified immediately. The CCHS administration will investigate and determine the appropriate outcomes for behavior that has no place in the school community.
The response of the faculty, staff, and students since May is important to share. I see a shift in our willingness to name issues as racist and a beginning to provide safe spaces to hear the pain that results. We see students speak out against such acts, address them directly, and report them as happened last night. These are first steps. Make no question that we are as strongly committed to ensuring that those of any sexual orientation and gender identity are also included in our schools and are furthering our work in this area as well. For example, we partnered with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Safe Schools program and strongly support the CCHS Spectrum Club and Concord Middle School LGBTQ+ and Allies groups.
In addition, the CCHS Intersections Club radio broadcast will be played again tonight at 6 pm on WIQH 88.3. This open dialogue from a diverse group of CCHS students is powerful. I would encourage you to listen and to invite older children to listen with you. The Intersections Club also organized a peaceful protest in Concord center earlier in June.
As a result of a meeting with METCO families, several goals are in place for CCHS next year. The goals include a school-wide conversation on racism with a diverse panel of speakers and students of color, roundtable conversations for students, teachers and parents, expansion of truly integrated activities beyond athletics, creation of a Black Student Union at CCHS, and an initiative to create a safe space for brave conversations.
We also added a summer professional development opportunity for staff. The sessions are entitled “How to Have Difficult Conversations about Race with Students.” The courses are available to all staff at no cost. The District Cultural Competency Committee also reconvened last week and will meet throughout the summer. Sixty-six staff members attended last week’s meeting.
I remind you that the recordings of the webinars from earlier in June about how to talk to children about race are posted on the district webpage: https://www.concordps.org/superintendent/cultural-competency-anti-racism/. Additional print and web based resources are also available on this page.
Finally, we will directly educate students on anti-racism. A Kindergarten teacher shared a lesson with me before summer started where our youngest students learned the word, its meaning, and how to treat others equally.
We are grateful for the community discussion of these issues and the clear commitment to change so that all students feel welcome and respected.