Recent events at Park City High School and TMJH have reminded us that hate and bigotry still exist in all corners of our society.
The use of hurtful language and symbols isn’t new in our community nor will it likely ever go away, and we must address and use each incident as a learning opportunity for our children, our parents, and our fellow community members.
As many of you remember, several years ago we had racist graffiti at apartments on Kearns that was quickly painted over. Students and faculty rallied and showed support for our Latinx neighbors by boldly stating that this hate was unacceptable in our community. Today should be no different.
Over the last couple of weeks, racist words and hateful symbols including a swastika have been displayed and drawn on our school campuses, harming and insulting our community. The reaction from the community has rightfully and appropriately been one of shock, anger and sadness. We feel these emotions alongside each of you.
In particular, to those who have been targeted by these hateful actions, we stand with you. How we respond together will dictate how we move forward as a community in combating hate and bigotry.
When our students use graffiti and words to spew hatred it must be a teaching experience dealt with by not only our schools but our entire community.
In the past several days, many community members have reached out, some asking what they can do to help and how to support signaling their support recognizing that we are stronger together. Thank you.
Unfortunately, others have responded using harsh words of their own, personal attacks, and accusing the Superintendent and school board of being complicit in the propagation of hate.
Equity and inclusion are not just buzzwords for our school district. All decisions we make are intentionally evaluated and analyzed through a lens of equity, inclusion, and belonging.
The safety of our students and staff is a key tenet of education in our community. We will continue to investigate these incidents while also working to make this a learning experience for all that hate of any sort is not welcome in Park City.
Most importantly, as we move beyond these incidents of hate in our community, we must work together and in good faith with one another to combat hate, and not undermine or work against one another.
Email campaigns and personal attacks and nasty comments on social media against the board and administration are misplaced, unnecessary, and further perpetuate division in our community. It feels particularly harmful given that the majority of the school board is in fact Jewish.
We ask that if you have the bandwidth, the desire, the time, and the ability, to please reach out with ideas to share, offers of help to move along, and support to keep our community connected and working together.
Let love fight hate and let’s do this together and rest assured that educating against hatred will always be a priority in Park City schools.
Andrew, Erin, Anne, Kara and Wendy
PCSD School Board