Monday message from Dr. Stavem
Lake Washington School District Community:
Over the past week we have watched events unfold across our country that reflect the anger and outrage that has once again been sparked by a senseless and horrific death. Mr. George Floyd’s life was taken during an arrest by a white Minneapolis police officer, once again reminding us of the wounds that have long been part of our country’s history of police brutality and racial divide.
As people assembled for peaceful protests to collectively express outrage and call for change, we unfortunately saw violence, chaos, and looting spill over into our streets. We all share the collective sense of shock and unrest as we try to make sense of these acts, here and across our nation.
This sense of unrest is further compounded by the extended time of isolation we have all experienced which has been a negative reality for many in our communities as we continue to deal with the effects and outcomes of the pandemic closures.
All of this is to say that there are many raw emotions and intense feelings as we begin the month of June, and the final weeks of education in Lake Washington.
First, we acknowledge the historical racism that continues to inflict pain and creates inequities for many people and in many areas of our school district, our communities, and our world. We will continue to work toward racial justice with words and actions as we mourn the recent and past deaths of those who continue to remind us of the work that must continue in and outside of our schools.
Second, as a school district, we must continue to help our students find and use their voices and actively prepare them to be adults who can collectively impact lasting change and bring about true peace in our world.
Finally, as we approach the last few weeks of our school year, I hope we can all reflect on our own personal journeys for how we contribute to both problems and solutions that address the gaps in opportunities, achievement, and experiences that are the realities faced by our students and families every day.
If any of our students, families, or staff members need support, our school counselors are available for support. You can contact your principal or school counselor to set up time to talk.
In addition, the National Association of School Psychologists has valuable resources for talking with students about violence as well as talking with students about race and privilege. You can find those resources at this link: https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/diversity/social-justice/understanding-race-and-privilege
While we are still asked to stay physically distanced, I would ask that you reach out in every way possible to your neighbors, your community, and your loved ones to express your care and concern for their well-being. Now more than ever, we must extend the hand of friendship, compassion, and understanding if we are to see our way forward during this challenging time.
Dr. Jane Stavem, Superintendent
Lake Washington School District