I know this year has been full of challenges and, as a district, you have worked tirelessly to overcome those challenges. As a family member, I appreciate your support for our children during the pandemic. However, we are in yet another moment of heightened racial awareness in America. While we collectively mourn the murders of Black Americans and navigate the path forward. It is absolutely critical to consider the impacts of these traumatic modern events, and their direct connection to Black American history, on students of all races. Not only do we need to address the emotional state of students and staff, but also make changes that create real, positive impacts on our student's lives and collective futures.
As a concerned sibling to a few students in this school district am calling on Boston Public Schools to ensure there is a safe learning environment for every student. It has been a short period of time since America has been addressing race, anti-racism, and inequality and I am disappointed in the lack of efforts by the district's faculty and school board to take deliberate anti-racist actions, within Board and academic communications with parents, students, staff and faculty.
To be clear: ignoring the injustices of widespread, normalized racism and intolerance of others, or simply making a statement, is not an option. Science and research has proven time and time again that children have learned racial bias in facial recognition by 3 months of age. Black children as young as 3 years old have been shown to have significantly lower self-esteem based on the identification of their skin color (Clark, B. and Clark, M., 1940's. "The Doll Test"), which has also been linked to lower academic achievement. Black students are significantly more likely to receive discipline resulting in removal from the classroom (suspensions, expulsions, referrals to law enforcement, and more) than their peers, which has been directly linked to incarceration rates. Accountability is one of the only known factors that lead to behavioral changes in people who occupy positions of power.
Please let me know what actions you plan to execute to systematically change the way students of color are treated in your public schools. Are you committed to removing police presence from your campuses and decriminalizing Black students? What changes can we as family members of students expect to see in the coming months?
Thank you for your time,
BPS: Class of 2013