WHITMAN COMMUNITY MESSAGE

MONDAY, MAY 23RD

DEAR WHITMAN COMMUNITY,

Whitman Elementary is committed to providing a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students and employees. In light of recent national events wherein white supremacist ideology was the driving force in a mass shooting located in a Black community in Buffalo, NY we want to take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to being an anti-racist school. Our goal is to ensure that no one in our community is a victim of discriminatory harassment, bullying or hate speech. Discriminatory harassment includes, but is not limited to, slurs, jokes, bullying or other verbal, written, electronic, graphic or physical conduct relating to an individual's race, color, national origin/ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or religion.


We are highly concerned whenever we hear a report of students at Whitman using inappropriate slurs, jokes, or comments related to an individual’s race. As an elementary school, we want to address each and every instance of this unacceptable language initially as a teaching moment for individuals and the community. When we are informed of an incident like this, we make every effort to investigate, communicate to families, and hold restorative conversations between the impacted students or staff. We know that young students are learning about the impact of their words and are committed to providing appropriate support to teach them when language causes harm to others. However, if a student continues to engage in this type of speech towards others they will receive disciplinary consequences as outlined in the students rights and responsibilities handbook.


Anyone who has been a victim of discriminatory harassment, bullying or hate speech or witnessed another student victimized is urged to report the incidents to their classroom teacher, Ms. Thompson, Ms. Garrido, or any other staff member. We urge you to talk with your student to discuss the importance of respecting others, both in their actions and their language.


Some resources for discussing these issues with your students are available here:


Teaching Tolerance- A Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center

Let's Talk: Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics with Students

American Psychological Association (APA)

Resources for Parents: Uplifting Youth Through Healthy Communication About Race

American Psychological Association (APA)

Talking to kids about discrimination

HealthyChildren.org

Talking to Children About Racial Bias

Embrace Race

8 Tips for Talking to Your Child About Racial Justice

Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent's Guide to Preventing and Responding to Justice



Thank you for your help in creating a supportive community for all of our students.

Sincerely,


Ms. Thompson, Principal | hethompson@pps.net

Ms. Garrido, Assistant Principal | cgarrido@pps.net