June 3, 2020
Dear Birch Meadow Community:
The past two weeks in our country and state have demonstrated the profound need for racial justice and healing in our country, state, town, and school. The urgency of anti-racist and anti-bias work could not be clearer. The murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black American by a police officer, and the subsequent protests across this country are not stand alone events, but rather a repeat of a story that is mired in a system that dehumanizes people because of their skin color - a system that impacts every single one of us and the children in our care.
Over the past two years in the Birch Meadow community we’ve explored issues of equity and anti-bias. The school faculty have participated in workshops on privilege and identity and historical timelines about equity and race. Several staff have participated in an equity book group that has studied How to be An Anti-Racist and Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria. In fall, 2019, all staff participated in an improv workshop on interrupting racist and biased language in the moment. I have presented a workshop to the PTO on the development of bias and in the winter, Mrs. Rhein, Mrs. Falvey and I presented a workshop for families on using literature as a way to discuss stereotypes and bias. We have laid the groundwork for our next steps.
Ibram X Kendi writes in his book, How to Be An Anti-Racist, “there is no neutrality in the racism struggle. The opposite of ‘racist’ isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is “anti-racist.’ …. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist.” As the principal leader of Birch Meadow, I am committing Birch Meadow School to becoming an anti-racist school. We must actively try to change and dismantle beliefs and systems that cause unbearable suffering and cruelty to our fellow humans. Some of these beliefs and systems exist in our own school community and we must begin here.
I know you will have many questions, thoughts, and worries about this action. Some of you may be worried about what this means for your child’s experience at Birch Meadow. This work will make Birch Meadow School a better community for all our children including yours.
In the upcoming weeks, there will be community events and information to begin this work, including community virtual meetings and resources for families. In tomorrow’s Newsflash there will be information about these events.
As, always I am interested in hearing from anyone who has questions or ideas they would like to share.
Principal, Birch Meadow School