Statement from the Lower Merion School District Regarding the Death of George Floyd
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent protests remind all of us in the Lower Merion School District that our ongoing work to ensure equity is vital. We mourn with Mr. Floyd's family and friends. We decry the racism that has led to the deaths of far too many people of color, not only at the hands of authorities whose mission should be to protect them, but also due to economic disparity, healthcare inequities and opportunity gaps.
The Lower Merion School District is committed to providing a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students and employees. We are dedicated to ensuring that every student has equal access to the District's educational programs and activities. We firmly believe that establishing a deep sense of belonging is fundamental to our work. Further, we believe our work is fundamental to building a future for our community and our world, where each individual is equally valued and every person's potential can be realized and fulfilled.
This is a difficult time for our community. Our students and staff members are experiencing a range of emotions, and every one of those emotions is justified. We urge our students to reach out to a trusted teacher or their school counselor. We urge our staff to take advantage of the mental health resources provided by our Human Resources Department. And we urge every member of our community to listen to and support one another.
Inclusivity and Belonging are central to our District's mission and a keystone of our Strategic Plan. LMSD is committed to taking a leadership role in closing achievement gaps and ensuring the achievement of all students through a comprehensive array of programs, strategies and community partnerships. Current efforts include expanded use of student data to identify and support struggling students, intensive staff development programs around cultural proficiency and differentiated instruction, summer enrichment programs, free tutoring programs, minority recruitment initiatives and implementation of other research-based achievement strategies.
The District is a founding member of the Delaware Valley Consortium for Excellence & Equity (DVCEE) and facilitates community and parent engagement around local K-12 issues through the Committee to Address Race in Education (C.A.R.E). The District's minority achievement programs at the high schools (Becton Scholars Seminar at Lower Merion and POWER Scholars at Harriton) further engage, challenge and support minority students in achieving their maximum potential.
We know there is much work to be done and the work is hard. Each of us must look inside to honestly assess how our own shortcomings, viewpoints and actions may – even inadvertently – be contributing to the strife and anger that our friends and neighbors experience. We must practice empathy. We must listen to one another. We must learn from one another. If we do these things, our classrooms (even when they are virtual) and our schools can serve as models for a better world.
Beyond those steps, we urge our community members to vote, both in tomorrow's primary and in the upcoming general election in November. And we urge those who are able to donate to organizations that are working in the pursuit of an equitable and more just society.
Below are links to some resources that parents/guardians may find helpful in discussing these issues with students. Our LMSD principals have also shared a variety of resources with staff and encourage them to discuss these important issues with students.