Dear members of LWSD community,
This past weekend we recognized the 20th anniversary of 9/11. I’m writing this message in response to events on Friday involving spirit wear at an Eastlake High School away football game and subsequent media attention and public response to that situation.
Over the past 24 hours I have heard from United States military veterans, New York police and fire workers and other concerned individuals both locally and from across this country expressing how the situation at Eastlake High School personally affected them. I was a fourth grade teacher on September 11, 2001. I heard the news of the Twin Towers as I drove into work and I had to figure out in real-time how to manage that day. What I know is that I was personally distraught yet had to try and make decisions and support my young students on that day. As a country, we recognized the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks this last weekend. Each first responder who was called into action on that day has our utmost regard and respect. Each military service member that has been called to action since that day and in response to that day has our utmost regard and respect for their service and duty. I have always been humbled by the men and women that choose to serve both here and abroad.
While there was no ill-intent behind the decision for Eastlake High School to change their plan for a themed event, we acknowledge the impact this has caused. As we move forward, we will review the processes used to make such determinations, and ensure appropriate protocols are in place for similar decisions to be made in the future.
As members of the local and broader community, we have a responsibility to have our voices heard. As public employees, it is our responsibility to be available and willing to receive the comments and concerns from those we serve. For those that have expressed their concerns in a respectful manner, thank you for sharing your perspectives so that we can become better as professional educators. I am sad that we have also received threats of harm. We have engaged our local police partners to evaluate these issues. I believe our community, regardless of topic, can agree that threats of violence and harm have no place in our discourse.
We have a value of listening to all voices. My hope is that we can continue to hear one another even as we work through difficulty, disagreement and concerns. Discourse is how we build awareness and develop understanding. Teaching our students to engage in civil discourse will allow them to be engaged and informed citizens. I commit to doing my part as a citizen and professional.
Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent
Lake Washington School District