Four Battle Creek school boards have written a letter to the community,  in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.  The letter, from the school boards of Harper Creek, Pennfield, Lakeview, and Battle Creek schools was initiated by the Lakeview Board, according to board president Eric Greene.   Green says the four board presidents and four district superintendents immediately endorsed the idea and then reached consensus on the wording.  Greene says he believes it was discussed at the respective board meetings at Battle Creek, Pennfield and Harper Creek last week. Greene says the Lakeview board isn't scheduled to meet until later in June, but that all board members have seen a copy.   Here is the letter from the four school boards:

Battle Creek, MI, June 15, 2020

An open letter to residents of the Battle Creek, Harper Creek, Lakeview and Pennfield school districts:

During this historic and challenging time, the school boards of Battle Creek, Harper Creek, Lakeview and Pennfield stand united in support of racial equity. As leaders in education, we believe in making society a better place for everyone, especially those who for too long have been pushed aside and held down.

In recent days, the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota was the latest in a long string of killings of black people at the hands of police. For those of us who work every day toward the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion in our schools, Mr. Floyd’s death is particularly troubling, as just the latest example of the continuing racial injustice in our nation.

Four years ago, our school districts began an important journey together to build equity in our community. We have committed to engaging in collective learning to better understand the lived experiences of others; challenging the inequities we see; and taking time to reflect on our own identities, biases, and competencies. We made this commitment to build a more equitable future for all students in the Battle Creek area.

We’ve made progress in recent years, but we know there remains much work to be done for our schools to be truly equitable. Despite the challenges, we are more committed than ever to fulfilling this mission. The future of our community depends on the success of our equity work.

And yet, it is not enough for us simply to acknowledge the racism that exists in our community and in our country. We must also fight against it, call it out and stand up as allies for students of color, specifically our black students, many of whom experience racism in their daily lives.

Today, as we redouble our commitment to achieving equity, we ask all members of the greater Battle Creek area to stand with us in support of justice and racial equity by engaging in conversation with your friends and family, educating yourselves and those around you, and donating time or resources to organizations working to make change in our community and across the nation. With your help and ideas, we know we can make Battle Creek a shining example of a community that pulls together for each other and for the future.

As of today, we recommit the education systems within our authority to the creation of better outcomes by co-developing policies that dismantle inequities and by adopting a collective equity statement that will guide future equity work within our districts.

We are committed to these initiatives to create a better future for our students, families and the entire community. Our districts are making a commitment to eliminating racial injustice in our schools and pledge to listen to our families. Please join us by doing the same.

Sincerely,

The School Boards of Harper Creek, Pennfield, Lakeview, and Battle Creek Public Schools

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