November 6, 2019
Dear Students, Parents, and Community:
Over the past few days our community has experienced a difficult and unsettling reality faced by other communities across our country. Our work to foster tolerance, inclusion, diversity and kindness in our school community has been challenged by the unacceptable statements and conduct of a few individuals and has resulted in disruption, hurt, and damage to our community. The East Bridgewater School District has been consistent and clear that there is no place for bigotry or hatred in our school community and it will not be tolerated.
The District takes violations of our student handbooks and District policies seriously and takes appropriate action consistent with the student handbook and District policies. In addition to holding individuals accountable for violations of district policies, the District also believes it is important to create a plan to help our school community heal and to reemphasize our efforts to support tolerance, diversity, and kindness. This will take time and support from our students, families and community.
Our Administrative Team has labored over decisions in the past few days while listening and watching our students struggle to stay focused on academics. Kids make mistakes and we as adults must take a deep breath, think of our own actions, and educate through modeling. We are not the morality police; however, we know right from wrong and so do our students. Let’s give our students a chance to speak and to lead the way. I have spoken to many students over the past few days and they want to fix this; they want a voice; and they do not want people to talk at them, but instead to listen to them and they want a role in designing the path forward. Dr. Williams, Assistant Superintendent, in consultation with our students, teachers, administrators, members of our school community, community partners, and professionals will be spearheading the design and implementation of an action plan for our school community to move forward and to support our District’s values that respect diversity, inclusion, tolerance and kindness. Dr. Williams and I believe that allowing students to be the catalyst for change is the only way to make it sustainable.
We will continue to discuss Digital Citizenship and social media issues with our students. I remind us all that once we post, share, or open a social media message our “digital footprints” are on it and cannot be taken back.
We know that you are angry and disgusted at the actions of the students in the video, and we ask our community as we have asked our students, to use this anger to engage with our school community in a positive and productive manner to create a plan that prevents this conduct in the future.
Thank you for giving the District your patience and support throughout this issue. As I say to my administrators and staff often: schools are event driven, we take one at a time and learn from each to make us better and stronger as a community.
With my sincere appreciation for our strong and caring community.
Elizabeth L. Legault
November 6, 2019