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A Rare Case of Accountability

Following swift deliberations, a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts in the murder of George Floyd. This culmination of pain and heartache from a murder recorded by bystanders and shared with the world has been traumatic. This unanimous decision provides a hint of the accountability that has been historically elusive to Black Americans.

On Monday afternoon during a statewide walkout organized by students, I listened carefully to their spoken words. Student after student shared their experiences watching our justice system, attending our schools, and living in our city. Our students have now witnessed a rightful conviction in a case like many before that have been ignored, minimized or unjustly decided. The live footage of the trial gave license to eyes and ears across the world that would have otherwise been shut out from the judicial process, leading to this conviction. 

The insidious effects of systemic racism and injustice did not begin on May 25, 2020, and they certainly did not end following this verdict. We have challenges and opportunities ahead of us. Painful reminders continue as Daunte Wright is being laid to rest this week in Minneapolis. 

The emotional buildup to the reaction of this verdict has been intense. There was undoubtedly some relief as we awoke to a new day. Emotions understandably remain high as we inch toward the end of our school year. Amidst the many challenges of the past year, the ongoing pain of systemic racism remains. As a reminder, all school staff have been given resources about how to respond and support students when discussing traumatic events, including the conclusion of this trial.

I am grateful for the work of our teachers, staff and community in support of our students. 

 

In partnership,

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Joe Gothard, Superintendent