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06.05.2020 Superintendent Phil Herman's Updated Message about Racism.

Dear Parents and Guardians,

On Monday, June 1st, I addressed my feelings and heartbreak over the senseless death of George Floyd. My video message went out to all parents, staff, and the Board of Education. The message is posted on YouTube, and our District website at www.hudson.k12.oh.us. It was also shared on Twitter by our staff members. In that message, I shared the following:

Hudson City Schools 6.1.20 Superintendent's Message - “For a guy who is an eternal optimist, I find that my heart has been breaking many times over the recent months. Much of that has been about COVID-19 and missed opportunities for our students, but this weekend and today, my heart breaks because of racism. 

 

Our nation has been shaken by the senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This tragic event is yet another reminder that too many African Americans live in fear simply because of the color of their skin.

 

I invite each of you to think about what you can personally do to help end racism. I’ve found that a good place to begin is to stop and listen to people of color -- your neighbors, your friends, your coworkers, and our students. Only then can we begin to comprehend their lived experiences, and the many ways, day in and day out, they have been impacted by racism in our nation, our state, in northeast Ohio, in our community, and in our schools.

 

But please understand, it is not their job to fix it or answer the question, “So what do you want us to do about it?” It is the responsibility of all of us to confront racism, while building action plans to acknowledge bias and prevent racism. 

 

Each of us has a role to play in our community, our workplace, and our family to bring equity and safety to people of color, and until then, my heart should be breaking.” 

 

I shared that racism is deeply disturbing and is against all that we stand for in our school district and larger community. Incidents of racism affect our entire community whether they occur locally, within our schools, within the metro area or more broadly in the state, nation or globally.

 

Over the past several years, we have sought, and continue to seek, to understand the racial and cultural divides that exist. Schools are a microcosm of our society, and we believe we have a responsibility to listen, learn, teach, lead, and take actions that can help positively impact future generations. District leadership has worked with Dr. Heather Burton, Faculty Advisor at Case Western Reserve University focusing diversity and inclusion leadership strategies. Denise Ward, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant from Summit County Educational Service Center has worked with students, teachers, staff, and administrators in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusive cultural practices. We have also partnered with the Diversity Center of NE Ohio for consultation, and to work with students. We have learned from our experience with these consultants and experts and have much more to learn.

 

Unfortunately, an act of vandalism took place at Lavelli Field this weekend, and the Hudson City School District is working closely with Hudson police on their investigation. The vandals spray painted obscenities, profanity, and a racial slur on the building and the pavement at Lavelli Field. Repairs began after police had completed their investigation at the site and were completed yesterday, 6.4.2020. In the meantime, the police investigation is on-going.

 

The Hudson City School District does not condone, and will not tolerate words and/or actions that constitute racism or discrimination in any form. Such acts are deplorable, devastating, contrary to our school district’s values, and tarnish all humanity.

 

I shared this information earlier this week in response to direct inquiries from some of our alumni and others who contacted me.  I am sharing this same information with parents and the broader community now as I have become aware of additional inquiries.  As I expressed to those who contacted me earlier this week, we are proud of our graduates and students, and want to hear their voices and welcome their communication. Their thoughts, feelings and suggestions will help make us all better as educators, and to provide an inclusive environment for all of our students.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Phil Herman