Following last week’s Presidential election and protests at three of the four comprehensive high schools in the Edmonds School District, Superintendent Kris McDuffy emailed a letter to concerned parents Tuesday afternoon.
“Our staff is committed and dedicated to a safe, caring and inspiring educational environment for each and every one of our students,” McDuffy’s letter begins. “This rings true each and every day.”
McDuffy goes on to say that she has heard from several families who were concerned about various reactions exhibited by members of school communities.
School district spokeswoman Debbie Joyce Jakala said that last week, at least one middle school had students who engaged in full classroom debates. Other concerns raised by parents include teachers getting visibly upset at school the day after the election.
“We saw a full spectrum of responses to our current political landscape,” Jakala said.
McDuffy’s letter to parents acknowledged that students, families and staff are “continuing to find ways to process their emotions.”
“Together, we will continue to provide the welcoming, safe and caring learning environment for each and every student,” McDuffy said in her letter.
Read the full content of McDuffy’s letter below:
Dear Edmonds School District Families –
Our staff is committed and dedicated to a safe, caring and inspiring educational environment for each and every one of our students. This rings true each and every day.
Last week and throughout the weekend, I heard from several families concerned about how varying reactions and responses by members of our school communities to the outcome and ongoing changes occurring in our nation’s political landscape are affecting their students. This District’s School Board, Leadership Team, and all entrusted with your students each day take these concerns seriously. I want to reassure you our paramount duty is to provide a safe, caring and orderly learning and working environment. This includes freedom from harassment, judgment or prejudice. We have been and are continuing to monitor and address anything that veers away from this paramount duty and commitment.
If you see, hear, learn or experience something that is contrary to this, please:
You also may have heard that on Monday, students staged walkout demonstrations at three of our comprehensive high schools. These were not school-sponsored events and solely organized by students. We must honor and respect everyone’s right to freedom of speech. However, we cannot support nor condone walk-outs or other demonstrations that affect the learning environment. Students that participated in these walkouts and demonstrations were marked with unexcused absences for the class period that they walked out of, or failed to attend.
We are well aware that students, families and staff continue to find ways to process their emotions. I shared the following at the start of this week with our District Leadership Team and firmly believe we can all benefit from:
*Being Kind – the world needs that
*Being Calm – our children are watching
*Being Hopeful – “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Gandhi)
Together we will continue to provide the welcoming, safe and caring learning environment for each and every student.
With kindness and respect,
Dr. Kristine McDuffy