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Racism Has No Place Here

May 17, 2022

Dear Colleagues:

Once again, our country has witnessed a horrific attack resulting in the deaths of innocent people. What happened at the Tops grocery store in Buffalo is enraging, disgusting and beyond belief. I am at a loss for words at how racism continues to incite people to hurt and kill others solely because of the color of their skin. Two of the victims had worked for the local school district. All 10 should be alive today.

This awful tragedy is but one of many incidents involving young people engaging in deadly violence. Over the past few days alone, teens have killed and been killed in Chicago, Milwaukee and here in the Twin Cities; one of our own SPPS students was a victim of gun violence just last week. 

As you and your students go to school this week and process these repeated traumas, please know that you have my support to take a stand against racism and call out acts of hate for what they are. You may not have the right words or know exactly what to say, and that’s OK. But saying something goes a long way, starting with acknowledging and condemning this latest tragedy, and reminding students that school is a safe space to process whatever they may be feeling. Here are a few ideas from LiberatED to help you and your students engage in these conversations.

I don’t have the answers or the perfect set of resources to make this better. Saint Paul Public Schools is and will remain a place where everyone is valued and respected for who they are, where racism and violence are never tolerated. Thank you for your courageous work to foster an environment that allows students to show up as their true selves and be loved for who they are.

In Partnership,

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Joe Gothard, Superintendent