Important Message To Our Morton and Springfield Families and Students

In the Springfield School District, one of our core values has to do with respect. Through our words and actions, we pride ourselves on teaching respect, on modeling what it means to value each other by embracing our similarities and our differences. Are we perfect in our mission? Absolutely not! However, we strive each day to be better than the day before - to ensure that all children, all families find a place in our district to call home.

As a public school district, we hold the expectation of hope in our efforts. Here, we look to foster a sense of pride, a sense of belonging in each child, so that, they can strive towards their highest potential.  Again, we are not perfect in this endeavor, but acknowledging that we must continue to push for success, to improve, is what drives us as educators.  Sadly, it seems we are constantly reminded that sometimes these hopes can be shattered by the reality that plays out with people who do not hold these same values.  It is during these moments when our children need us the most!

Martin Luther King once said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." These words are so powerful, as we tune into the media over the past several days, as the country reacts to the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among others. It is difficult to process the images that we, and our children, have endured, or may have to continue to endure as we work towards a more just society.  Life is so precious and to witness acts of such hatred are unconscionable and intolerable; they serve to threaten the very core of our democracy and the right of every person to be accounted for as a human being deserving of dignity and respect.

Schools hold the influence to educate students (and ourselves) in values that transcend one, dominant way of thinking. Freedom, in all of its beauty, must be afforded to all from all. We wish that we could wave a magic wand and take away all of the hate, the violence, the racism that threatens everything that is good within ourselves. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. One of the greatest tools we utilize in our system is conversation. With our compassionate hearts and open minds, we express ourselves with the hope of continually learning from one another. We want all of you to know, no matter who you are, you are loved and respected, and we will work to make sure everyone feels as such.

We have started to reach out to our teachers, administrators, police, politicians, and citizens about what more we can do to be part of the solution. To a person, the idea of deliberate and active conversation around topics of race and inclusion continues to dominate our theory of practice. We will look to continue conversations and to pursue efforts to assist us in sustaining a place where, no matter who you are, no matter what you look like or where you are from, you have an opportunity to write your own story without one being written for you.  Until that day comes, our work will continue.

In closing, we love Morton and Springfield. We, like you, have made the choice to raise our families here. And all of us have a responsibility to ensure that we continue to live in solidarity with respect, love, and support.

Sincerely,

The Entire SSD Team

Parent Resources to Help Talk with Your Children:

Talking to Kids About Race:  National Geographic Resources

31 Children's Books to Support Conversations on Race...

Parent's Tool Kit: How to Talk to Children About Race

Talking to Children About Tragedies and Media Events

ADL: Discussing Hate and Violence with Children