During its July 13 School Board Meeting, Lake Washington School District Superintendent, Dr. Jon Holmen, removed “Rebels” as the Juanita High School mascot. Dr. Matt Livingston, Director of Secondary Education and Juanita High School Principal, Kelly Clapp, will now begin the process outlined in Policy 6970 to select a new mascot.
June 1, 2020 statement from the LWSD Board of Directors
Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. We say their names not because they are the only three. They are three of many whose lives were taken and sadly, their names are now part of our history as a country that should be better because of the promise that was put forth that all people are created equal. However, this ideal will continue to be just an ideal—an aspiration—if we only see these names of Black women, men, and children as sad markers in our history instead of a call to action to make change for a better future that is equitable for every one of our students.
We understand, as a Board, that silence is comforting for some and deafening for others. We understand that silence is also complicity. If we are silent, we are implicitly saying that the lives of Black people are less than or do not matter. We believe that the lives of Black people do matter. We believe that it is our responsibility to condemn and speak out against discrimination, hate, and racism. As writer and activist, Alice Walker stated, “Look closely at the present that you are constructing; it should look like the future you are dreaming.” In the present, we acknowledge that we do not have all the answers. In the present, we understand that those furthest away from economic, racial, and/or educational justice are in those places and positions because of inequities inherent in our structures, systems, and institutions.
Our Strategic Plan and Board Values speak to the future that we are constructing:
- A district with access to opportunities for all students not just to survive but to thrive.
- A district with socio-emotional learning supports that are differentiated and culturally responsive.
- A district where students, staff, and families are heard and valued for their individual and collective perspectives, knowledge, and histories.
- A district where students will choose their trajectories and futures because the district staff support our students’ realities and their hopes and dreams by continuing our work to be a place with a diverse, high-quality, and culturally responsive workforce.
We will be able to do the aforementioned work through being listeners and learners. Through our intentional, and many times uncomfortable work, we will collectively build a broader and more responsive community wherein our values, beliefs, and actions exemplify the brighter future where inequities have been eliminated, creating a new reality - for every single student within the Lake Washington School District.
This statement was read at the June 1, 2020 LWSD Board meeting.