By Jill Baker, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools
As a school district, we have lowered our U.S. flags to half mast far too many times in recent years as a mark of respect for victims of senseless violence. Once again this week, we have lowered our flags as directed by a proclamation by the President of the United States. This time, we mourn eight victims from a March 16 mass shooting in the Atlanta area, where the majority of victims were women and Asian American or Asian immigrants. Today we want to express our solidarity with our Asian American/Pacific Islander communities.
In light of our nation’s ongoing reckoning with inequality and bigotry over the past year, we in the school district have created avenues for public dialogue on how our organization can better ensure equity and excellence in a systematic fashion. These efforts include the LBUSD Equity Leadership Team that we formed last fall as a forum for community stakeholders and staff in the planning, design and implementation of policies. I have also been privileged to work with 23 high school juniors and seniors on our inaugural Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee, where we are tackling difficult subjects such as bias and institutional racism. Tuesday’s murders were the latest, tragic reminder of just how important and relevant our local conversations on equity are. Equally important is that we teach our children about the legacy of Asian American discrimination in America that stretches back to the 1850s, so that we do not repeat the tragic and inhumane events of our past.
Here in our beautifully diverse school communities, our LBUSD team takes seriously our responsibility to teach our children to be good citizens and to uphold the principles of equality and respect for people of all backgrounds. We are committed to ending all acts of hatred and violence, which stem from ignorance and prejudice, and we deeply appreciate all who continue to support this important work.