Racist message condemned by TSD

Racist message condemned by TSD
Posted on 06/02/2020
The following letter was sent to Tahoma families and staff on Tuesday afternoon.

Tahoma families:

Tahoma High School, school district administration, and the School Board are aware of and strongly condemn the disturbing racial comments in a video made by two Tahoma High School students and distributed Monday on social media. While this conduct occurred after normal school hours and away from school, this is a time when our students are all engaging in their education remotely using online communications, and struggling for positive connection at a time of stay-home orders. This conduct would affect the entire Tahoma community at any time; it is all the more hurtful and damaging during the current time of protest, reflection and difficult conversation over the killings of George Floyd and so many others.

Racism and racist behavior are unacceptable and are not tolerated in the Tahoma School District. As educators, it is our desire to encourage students to explore and discuss important issues, as every citizen should. It is also our responsibility to help students understand the difference between a thoughtful exchange of ideas and hateful speech that serves only to inflame rather than inform.

Accordingly, THS Administration is reviewing the facts and circumstances surrounding the social media post. Administrators will engage with the students and parents in question and any other THS community member affected by these events. Appropriate student-corrective action and other such measures as necessary will be taken to safeguard the wellbeing of all members of the THS community.

It is important to understand that this incident is not isolated. Members of our community, both inside and outside the school district, have experienced racism. Well before this incident, Tahoma School District committed to looking inward as the district examines equitable opportunities afforded to all students. We know that not every child is having the experience we want for them. To support each student in achieving high standards and being future ready, we are engaging in a review of practices in order to identify and eliminate opportunity gaps. An educational environment that is safe, welcoming, and provides an opportunity to be fulfilling is paramount in our mission. As part of that work we have adopted a School Board equity goal, directed the formation of an ad hoc equity committee, and appointed an Equity Director. We are developing plans to ensure the cultural competency of our staff through ongoing professional development and to partner with our community to strengthen family engagement.

Sincerely,

Tahoma School Board: Tami Henkel, president; Katrina Montgomery, vice president; Malia Hollowell; Pete Miller; Valerie Paganelli

Mike Maryanski, interim Superintendent

Mike Hanson, incoming Superintendent
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