MEDWAY — The Medway Public Schools Leadership Team, to include Superintendent Armand Pires, Assistant Superintendent Gabrielle Abrams, Director of Student Services Kathleen Bernklow, Middle School Principal Craig Juelis, Burke-Memorial Elementary School Principal Amanda Luizzi, McGovern Elementary School Principal Amy McDonald, Medway Federation of Teachers President Megan Morrison, High School Principal John Murray and Director of Wellness Ryan Sherman, offers the following statement to the Medway community:
“Over the last few days and weeks, news about the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in Atlanta, Breona Taylor in Louisville and the events in Minneapolis that resulted in the death of George Floyd have incited protests, sadness and anger across the nation. We share in that sadness as we mourn the latest victims of a deeply rooted system of injustice and inequality in our world.
“As individuals, we are deeply troubled by the social injustices that still exist. As educators, we cannot remain silent to the impact these acts have on our students and their families, and we stand in solidarity with those who confront systemic racism, bigotry and hate.
“In the wake of these injustices, we reaffirm our commitment to honoring and educating all of our students. Our schools must continue to be part of the solution to address inequities and injustices that disproportionately impact individuals of color everywhere.
“We recognize the impact of racial and socioeconomic disparities in our world, and while we have worked hard to learn more and plan more, at times our actions have been flawed and our inaction has been deafening. We remain committed to this essential work. Our efforts thus far, however meaningful, are but a whisper. We remain committed to our diversity, equity and inclusion partnerships. We remain committed to our role to bring about the much-needed change in our culture and our society, and we ask our school community to join us in our reaffirmation and commitment to the ethical and moral treatment of all.
“As a district of learners, we understand that it is through education, introspection and action that we will be able to move forward the ideals of social justice. This work has included a four-year partnership with the Initiatives for Developing Equity and Achievement for Students (IDEAS) to underpin the learning of faculty and staff by supporting authentic student-teacher relationships through an understanding of race and racism, and their impact on student engagement and achievement.
“These issues are complex and require a coordinated and nuanced approach to teaching for change which focuses on schools, families and communities working together for social justice. The current school closure and remote learning complicate our ability to support students around these issues; however, in the next week or so we will offer the opportunity to join together in conversation and learning with IDEAS experts in racial identity development, race and racism. We are finalizing the details for this community conversation and will share additional information as soon as it is available.
“We will also offer teachers training and tools to address student questions and fears in a developmentally sensitive way, as they occur naturally in the context of remote learning. Additionally, high school and middle school administrators are planning experiences to ensure that students may give voice to how the issues of social injustice, race and racism may manifest in our hallways, classrooms and throughout our school campuses. These experiences will provide the foundation for our future work as a district.
“In addition to school programming, we have compiled several resources, available here, that we hope will assist our Medway families who begin or continue conversations at home about the events that are taking place throughout our nation. We acknowledge that students are best supported when educators and families work together.
“We know that these efforts are not the end, and are an important step forward in our collective work. There is much more that we need to do as educators and humans to ensure that there is a place and a space for every student and family in our schools, our society and our world.”