September 14, 2020
Dear Kentfield School Community,
We live in a county that is filled with individuals of different cultures, beliefs and ethnicities. This diversity of backgrounds and experiences makes our community beautiful and unique, which should be celebrated and valued. When any member of our community discounts or uses hate speech or hate-motivated behaviors it is our duty to speak out.
We have recently learned that local social media accounts (Community Letter in English and Spanish) have targeted our Jewish students and families with Anti-Semitic messaging. This behavior is absolutely unacceptable and the acts should not be tolerated, minimized, or ignored. It is unfortunate that we continue to have this kind of behavior occurring locally and nationally, but it also reminds us of our role in not being bystanders or silent, but rather to take action by expressing our concern and rejecting acts of bigotry. As adults, our actions demonstrate for our children that we must act against injustice by modeling behavior that values differences and embraces the notion that we all have something valuable to share.
In February of this year, our Board of Trustees adopted a new Strategic Plan that acknowledges diversity and embraces our differences as an asset and a promise. A Board Committee of Equity and Inclusion was developed and will convene this year to assist in developing a plan to increase equity and inclusion practices across the District. Our staff has engaged in a districtwide read of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. And our team of teachers are working collaboratively to integrate social justice curriculum across our grade levels. These tangible steps to educate and reflect on our practices are what lend to change and help unify our community.
Kentfield School District acknowledges that all our students have a fundamental right to feel welcome, safe, and included in our schools. We celebrate diversity and recognize that together we stand against anti-Semitism, hate, and racism in our community and beyond.
Discussing Hate and Violence with Children
The Anti-Defamation League offers families and educators excellent age-appropriate information and resources for discussing hate and violence with children.
"Children are aware of what is happening in the world around them. Family members and educators cannot assume that children are unaffected by global events. When frightening and violent incidents occur, both children and adults may experience a range of emotions including fear, confusion, sadness and anger.
To counteract fear and give reassurance, adult family members, teachers and day care providers can provide opportunities for children to express how they feel and channel their feelings into positive actions.
Discussions between adults and children in difficult situations can be an opening for reinforcing family and community values, beliefs and traditions. Here are some strategies on how to begin these discussions and how to prepare your children."