Our number one priority is to have our schools be safe spaces for all students, staff, and parents. It is our goal to ensure this from the time your child leaves home to the time they return from their school day; unfortunately, there are moments when intolerable acts occur at school and in our broader community. It is our collective responsibility (school, parents, community members) to teach our children how to respectfully engage with one another and it is also our collective responsibility to interrupt and address these unacceptable acts.
Today we are writing to you about a few incidents that have taken place at Hall Middle within the last week that we will not accept. These incidents have unfolded quickly and we know our community deserves an immediate and transparent account of what has occurred and the District’s response. Twice, a student made antisemitic gestures with hate-motivated statements towards another student. This same student was again targeted by another child who threw a small rock at them and used hate speech towards them. Additionally, we have received and responded to several reports of students using hate speech such as, but not limited to, the N-word, derogatory terms toward Latinos, and homophobic terms. Parents are outraged; we are outraged. These acts cause pain and trauma. This is not acceptable and will not be tolerated in our schools.
LCMSD takes all forms of antisemitism and hate speech seriously. We have explicit consequences if students engage in such behavior and have followed through with them in light of these incidents that recently occurred with Hall Middle students. Along with a disciplinary response, we also provide opportunities for teaching and learning. This takes planning and coordination to do it well. Please know we have planned classroom-based lessons and activities for this week and following Thanksgiving Break. On Thursday, November 16, Hall students will be engaged in a lesson regarding hate speech and dehumanizing language. Students will engage in reflection and learning centered on the use of derogatory language and hate speech and its impact. Our policy in responding to hate speech will remain consistent. It will be made very clear to students that any act of antisemitism or hate speech against any group will result in immediate suspension. Should a student continue to engage in these acts, further disciplinary action will occur, possibly resulting in expulsion. There is no place for hate in our schools and learning community.
Addressing these behaviors takes all of us. Following Thursday’s lesson, we ask parents to follow up with their children about these important topics. We understand this is a challenging conversation and we are committed to supporting families with the tools and skills needed to interrupt these behaviors. Below are resources you might find helpful.
Trustees Annie Sherman and Amir Movafaghi, as well as Dr. Toni Brown and Dr. Brett Geithman will hold a community meeting this afternoon from 4:00-5:00 in the Hall Library to answer any questions you may have. We will also continue providing opportunities to engage with all stakeholders to provide insight, feedback, and next steps to create a more inclusive and safe learning community.
This is a school issue, this is a home issue, this is a community issue, this is a global issue. We collectively raise our children and it takes all of us to prevent, respond to, and denounce acts of hate. Thank you for your partnership and commitment towards making Hall Middle, and all LCMSD schools, safe spaces for all children and staff.