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A Message from the Superintendent

Dear Families,

Brighton High School recently learned about racist videos that were directed at a BHS student by another BHS student. We investigated the situation, took swift and serious disciplinary action, worked directly with the families involved employing various restorative practices, approaches, and educational components, and cooperated fully with Brighton Police.

Attached to this message is an announcement shared with BHS students earlier today. I implore all of you, from all of our schools, to please have a developmentally appropriate conversation with your child about the content of this message and the importance of speaking up as a bystander if you witness racist, discriminatory, and/or biased words or actions. I also ask that you please join our school community in condemning hate filled, derogatory, racist, sexist, and/or divisive speech and use of derogatory stereotypes or terms like the N-word. There is no room in our schools or in our community for such language or actions and this behavior will not be tolerated.

We have eagerly embraced important work in the area of diversity and equity. I wrote to you last summer about our efforts and will be providing detailed updates in the coming months about significant work done by school staff and multiple committees regarding our practices in the areas of hiring, discipline, special education, culturally responsive curriculum, and teaching practices. We are working every day to be aware of and counter implicit bias and structural racism and to be culturally responsive. Although this work has been substantial and is essential, it is only part of the equation.

I’m reminded of the words of the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, when in 1946 he reflected on his deeds and role during World War II:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

We need to join together in one voice that speaks out for all others. We need to continue speaking up for equity, kindness, civility, compromise, inclusivity, and respect for all members of our human family. We will continue to do so here at school while redoubling our efforts.

Thanks to our staff and so many community members for their work in this area and for everything so many people in this district do to provide a warm, caring, respectful, and supportive environment each day. Thank you for joining in this conversation and for investing in our Brighton Beliefs each day.

Sincerely,

Kevin C. McGowan, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools